The Royals announced they have called up outfielder Drew Waters and have optioned Nate Eaton down to Triple-A Omaha. Waters was acquired in a July 11 trade with the Braves with pitcher Andrew Hoffman and third baseman CJ Alexander for a 2022 draft pick and has been on a tear ever since joining the Royals organization. In 31 games for Omaha, Waters was hitting .295/.399/.541 with seven home runs in 31 games and was 13-for-13 in stolen base attempts. Overall, he is hitting .269/.345/.460 with 13 home runs and 18 steals in 83 games with the Braves and Royals.
The switch-hitting centerfielder was originally a second-round pick by the Braves out of high school in Georgia in 2017. He has been a consensus top 100 prospect until he had a lackluster performance for the Braves in 2021, hitting just .240/.329/.381 with a 31 percent strikeout rate in Triple-A. Waters has cut down that strikeout rate this year, and has added power, already hitting a career-high in home runs. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the #9 prospect in the organization, writing before the season that he has “always been an aggressive hitter, one who swings and misses a good amount, with plenty of raw power he still is learning to get to.”
The 23-year-old figures to be the centerfielder of the future for the Royals, so it will be interesting to see how they divide playing time between him and regular Michael A. Taylor. Manager Mike Matheny recently talked about the challenge of finding playing time for all the young players. Waters is in the lineup for this afternoon’s game against the White Sox in right field, hitting ninth.