Drew Waters is not the answer to the Braves outfield problem yet

Braves Drew Waters

The Braves received some brutal news earlier this week when they found out that Marcell Ozuna will be out for at least six weeks after dislocating two fingers. The Big Bear wasn’t off to the hottest of starts, but he was still a critical piece to Atlanta’s lineup. With him, a scorching hot streak could always be around the corner; just look at what he accomplished in 60 games last year. Couple his absence with the struggles of Cristian Pache, and the Braves have an outfield problem all of a sudden.

The combination of Guillermo Heredia and Ender Inciarte can be relied on to man centerfield for the remainder of the season, and Atlanta would be just fine. However, inserting them both into the lineup for a significant period would cost the Braves a lot of juice offensively. That is not how Atlanta wants to approach the next six-plus weeks, so expect Alex Anthopoulos to make a move, whether it be a trade, free-agent signing, or call up.

The latter of those three options is the least likely. I understand Drew Waters is one of the Braves’ top prospects, and fans are clamoring to see him, but the reality is he is not ready. After a scorching hot stretch that saw his average balloon to .326 and OPS climb up over 1.000, Waters only has two hits (both singles) in his last 24 at-bats. Over that stretch, he’s struck out a whopping ten times, and for the season, he’s striking out over 33% of the time. Just imagine how high that number would be if the Braves were to promote him to the majors.

Waters’ numbers in Gwinnett still aren’t half-bad, even after this recent slump. He’s batting .250 with three homers, and his OPS is just under .800. That’s not too shabby for a 22-year-old at the highest level of the minors, but that’s exactly it — he’s only 22-years-old. Very few players are ready to make their major-league debut at that age, and Waters seems to be falling into that category. There’s no reason the Braves should rush him up. I expect Atlanta to bring in another body, but it will most likely be through trade or free agency.

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