Braves' Waters homers on four-hit night

No. 60 overall prospect stays hot, falls triple short of cycle

Through 64 games, Drew Waters has 24 multi-hit efforts, including three four-hit contests. (Walter Barnard/MiLB.com)

By Duane Cross / MiLB.com | June 14, 2019 12:42 AM

It was fitting that Drew Waters and Cristian Pache dined together Friday evening.

After all, the fifth-ranked Braves prospect said they "feed off each other."

Waters smacked the decisive two-run homer in his third four-hit effort of the season as Double-A Mississippi downed Mobile, 5-1, at Trustmark Park.

Video: Braves' Waters singles up the middle

Waters was 4-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored, falling a triple shy of the cycle. He also had four-hit games on June 1 at Pensacola and May 3 against Jacksonville and leads the Southern League with a .335 batting average.

"I am having a really good time," he said. "I haven't had the opportunity to play with Pache, but he pushes me; we feed off each other. He'll smoke one down the line and that drives me to do the same. With Pache hitting in front of me, I get a lot of pitches to hit."

A second-round pick in last year's Draft, Waters began his night with a one-out double to right field in the first inning off right-hander Jason Alexander, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. He stroked a one-out single to left in the third, then flied to left to begin the fifth.


Gameday box score


With the game knotted, 1-1, in the seventh, MLB.com's No. 60 overall prospect faced right-handed reliever Joe Gatto. With one out, Waters hammered the first pitch for a long dinger, plating Daniel Lockhart, who drew a leadoff walk.

"I watched Pache's at-bat," he said. "[Gatto] threw him four curveballs. I knew he wouldn't throw me one. I always look fastball [and] knew it was coming. I was ready to roll when he threw it."

The Georgia native capped his four-hit performance with a two-out single up the middle in the eighth off right-hander Dario Beltre.

Through 64 games, the 20-year-old center fielder has 24 multi-hit efforts; he's been held hitless 17 times. Waters, who has reached base in 22 consecutive games, also leads the circuit in hits (88), runs scored (41), triples (8), doubles (22), total bases (138), slugging percentage (.525) and OPS (.903).

There was, however, a bump in the road -- he was 2-for-16 against the Barons from May 17-20.

"I feel very comfortable [at Double-A], but there was one series, at Birmingham, where I was just god-awful," he said. "They started to throw me around the zone, off-speed pitches.

"I sat down with our hitting coach [Carlos Mendez] and he said, 'Go up there and look fastball. If you can get your foot down, your hands are so good you can handle any pitch.' So I just ran with it. Now I can handle the slider, the off-speed -- and I don't miss a fastball."

In 23 games since the Birmingham series, he's been hitless three times.

Waters said he is "definitely prepared" if the call comes to move to Triple-A Gwinnett or even Atlanta.

"The pitching gets better as you go up," he said. "Double-A, especially the Southern League, has some highly touted prospects. I've seen guys with good stuff, [but] they locate better in Triple-A and the big leagues.

"The only thing that will help me develop is more at-bats. I'm not looking to change much."

Pache, the top Braves prospect, and Ryan Casteel added two hits apiece as the M-Braves totaled 11.

2019 MiLB include

Braves starter and 23rd-ranked prospect Jasseel De La Cruz allowed one run on five hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out five in his fifth Southern League outing. Claudio Custodio (3-1) picked up the win with a scoreless frame and Josh Graham punched out two in two perfect innings for his seventh save.

Gatto (3-3) surrendered three runs on two hits and two walks while striking out two in 1 2/3 innings.

Top Angels prospect Jo Adell was 1-for-2 with an RBI single for Mobile.

Duane Cross is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DuaneCrossMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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