Waters (thumb) started in right field and went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk Sunday in Triple-A Gwinnett's 6-2 loss to Nashville. Before rejoining the lineup Sunday, Waters hadn't played since June 12 while managing a sore thumb. Though he's apparently healthy again, Waters may need to cut down on his strikeouts before Atlanta seriously entertains the idea of promoting him. After striking out in 36.1 percent of his plate appearances in his first taste of Triple-A in 2019, Waters has only modestly trimmed that rate (31.1 percent) so far this season.
Waters hasn't played for Triple-A Gwinnett since Thursday due to a sore thumb, David O'Brien of The Athletic reports. Gwinnett hasn't placed Waters on the 7-day injured list, so the affiliate appears to be viewing the outfielder as day-to-day at this point. The 22-year-old switch hitter is slashing .279/.375/.414 with three home runs and eight stolen bases across 128 plate appearances for Gwinnett this season.
Waters received an invitation to major-league spring training Monday. The 22-year-old doesn't appear to be a favorite to make the Opening Day roster, but a debut sometime this season seems very likely. He's already reached the Triple-A level, though he struggled there in 26 games for Gwinnett in 2019, striking out 36.1 percent of the time en route to an 84 wRC+. He whiffed a far more palatable 25.2 percent of the time at lower levels, however, so it would hardly be a surprise to see him sort things out and push for a big-league job fairly early in the year.
Waters will be a part of the Braves' 60-man roster, Gabe Burns of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The Braves' highly-touted prospect appeared in major-league camp this spring, but he struggled with strikeouts as he hit .167 with a 14:2 K:BB over 26 plate appearances before play was suspended. The 21-year-old has solid power and speed, but he'll need to work on his hit tool this season while developing with the team's 60-man roster. His ability to capably play all three outfield positions could lead to him getting some inconsistent MLB playing time this season.
Waters hit .167 with a 14:2 K:BB in 26 plate appearances in major-league camp. He was not going to make the Opening Day roster even if he had a great spring training, but his 53.9 percent strikeout rate in this small sample made it clear that he still has work to do on the farm. Waters' plus raw power and plus speed make him a very appealing fantasy prospect, but the development of his hit tool in the coming year will be critical. Fortunately, he won't turn 22 until December, so he is ahead of schedule.
Last 7 Games