His last name may say differently, but Drew Waters has been on fire for Double-A Mississippi.
MLB.com's No. 44 overall prospect recorded his fourth four-hit game of the season and scored three times, leading Mississippi to a 10-1 triumph over Biloxi on Sunday at Trustmark Park.
Video: Mississippi's Waters singles for fourth hit
At 20 years old, Waters has established himself as one of the top hitters in Double-A. He leads the Southern League with a .335 average, 113 hits, nine triples and 29 doubles. He kept up the pace against the Shuckers, lacing a double to go with three singles in his third multi-hit game this month.
Batting second, the fourth-ranked Braves prospect belted a two-bagger off starter Dylan File in the first inning and scored the game's first run on a base hit by Ryan Casteel. After flying out in the second, Waters ripped the first of three straight singles on the first pitch from the right-hander in the fourth. He swiped second for his 11th stolen base of the season and came home on a double by Tyler Neslony.
The Georgia native was down, 0-2, against lefty reliever Clayton Andrews before reaching on an infield hit and continuing to second on a throwing error by third baseman Jake Gatewood in the sixth. He crossed the plate again on a bases-loaded double by Daniel Lockhart. Waters ended his productive night with a first-pitch seeing-eye single to center off righty Nattino Diplan in the eighth.
Gameday box score
Waters had never had a four-hit outing until this season; since May, he's done it four times, most recently on June 14. He attributed that to tweaking his stance.
"I've always been kind of a handsy hitter, but I knew going into last year's offseason that I needed to work on the lower half of my swing," he said.
So the 2017 second-round pick adjusted his stance. Instead of standing upright, Waters put some bend in his knees. He stopped drifting to off-speed pitches and waited for them to come to him.
"Last year, I didn't really hit breaking balls too well. I could get away with hitting the changeup, but really, I got most of my hits off of fastballs," Waters added. "This year, with a strong lower half, I'm seeing [all pitches] and I'm able to hit them deep in my swing. Now it's just a matter of swinging at strikes and when I swing at strikes, more often than not it winds up in my favor."
That's backed up by a .338 average and a .916 OPS earned Waters a selection in the Southern League All-Star Game, where he promptly hit a leadoff home run. But he thinks there's still room for improvement.
"I want to continue hitting from the right side of the plate," Waters said. "I can hit right-handed, because the right side is my natural side, but for me, it's more of a comfort level. I get way more at-bats left-handed than I do right-handed. But I think over time, as I continue to face left-handed pitching, I'll continue to get more comfortable and you'll see my right side really come into play."
The Woodstock, Georgia, high-school product has already put questions of his youth to rest. The Braves aggressively assigned him to Double-A after one full Minor League season and he has a .302/.357/.479 career slash line with 18 homers and 20 triples.
Waters' big night came in support of Braves No. 21 prospect Jasseel De La Cruz, who recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts over six scoreless innings. The right-hander gave up four hits and two walks, lowering his ERA to 2.92 in nine games since his promotion from Class A Advanced Florida. De La Cruz has already thrown a no-hitter this season, the first in Florida's team history, on just 89 pitches.
2019 MiLB include
"He didn't surprise me at all," Waters remarked. "He has what I call an 'electric arm.' He has a pretty good idea of what he can do on the mound. He can run his fastball up to 98 mph and then sometimes he'll throw it at 91 with a cut, and he can also throw a hard slider. It's always an uncomfortable at-bat for the guys facing him.
"When he's throwing strikes, not too many people hit him. As he continues to develop as a pitcher, he'll continue to have that success."
Mississippi racked up 17 hits with Braves No. 12 prospect Greyson Jenista ripping a two-run homer during a three-hit night. Tyler Neslony also tallied three hits, falling a homer short of the cycle.
Joantgel Segovia drove in the Shuckers' only run with a single in the ninth.