ATLANTA -- When the Braves gathered their scouts in January to begin planning for this year's MLB Draft, Drew Waters was mentioned as a potential candidate for their first pick, the fifth overall selection. The club was well aware of the tremendous athleticism possessed by this switch-hitting outfielder, who spent
ATLANTA -- When the Braves gathered their scouts in January to begin planning for this year's MLB Draft, Drew Waters was mentioned as a potential candidate for their first pick, the fifth overall selection. The club was well aware of the tremendous athleticism possessed by this switch-hitting outfielder, who spent last fall playing for a team coached by Fred McGriff.
Waters became the latest suburban Atlanta high school athlete to gain a chance to play for his hometown organization when the Braves took him Monday night with the 41st overall selection in the Draft. He was named Gatorade State Player of the Year in Georgia after leading Etowah High School to its first Class 7-A state title in school history.
• Braves take polished hurler at No. 5
"These Georgia kids, we get to see them a lot and we get to see them over and over during the summer," Braves scouting director Brian Bridges said. "Drew comes to play. He's kind of an old-school baseball player who has the ability and tools to carry himself to the next level."
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
Waters is a 6-foot-2, 190-pound outfielder who has been clocked at 6.4 seconds over 60 yards. The 18-year-old prospect is the son of a former Georgia Tech offensive lineman, and he already wears a size 13 shoe. This combination leads the Braves to believe he will continue to grow physically and gain the power potential they would seek from a corner outfielder.
"Hopefully he continues to grow and grows into a beast along with having that skill set he has," Bridges said.
Waters batted .510 (53-for-104), with 15 home runs, four triples, and 13 doubles for Etowah this season. He earned Rawlings-Perfect Game First-Team All-American honors last summer. His high school coach Greg Robinson played at the University of North Carolina with Braves special assistant Roy Clark.
"We know this kid inside and out, and we know what he brings to the table," Bridges said.
McGriff has spent each of the past three seasons establishing himself as a highly respected scout within the Braves' system. The former slugger coached Waters on a scout team that played in Jupiter, Fla., in October.
"Fred said this kid has some intangibles that a lot of other kids don't," Bridges said. "He really believes in his ability and really believes in who he is. He wants to be at the plate in big situations. He has a lot of confidence in himself and he has a lot of confidence in his ability."
With the fifth overall selection on Monday, the Braves took right-handed pitcher Kyle Wright out of Vanderbilt University. Atlanta's talented farm system is rich with pitching talent, but Bridges made it clear he didn't enter this Draft with an intention to focus on either arms or bats.
"We're not scripting it out," Bridges said. "We're just going for the best available player from here on out."
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.