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MLB Draft 2017: Q&A with Braves’ second-round pick Drew Waters

Waters did a Q&A with MLBDD in advance of the MLB Draft, which begins on June 12.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Leading up to Day 1 of the MLB Draft on June 12, we will be conducting Q&A interviews with many prospects who are projected to be first-rounders. For a complete listing of these interviews, click here.
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Next is outfielder Leading up to Day 1 of the MLB Draft on June 12, we will be conducting Q&A interviews with many prospects who are projected to be first-rounders. For a complete listing of these interviews, click here.
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Next is Georgia prep outfielder Drew Waters from Etowah High School. The Georgia commit is 6-foot-2 and 185 lbs.

Waters is considered a fringe first-rounder, with some clubs known to be considering him at the back of the pack. Be sure to check out Waters’ full scouting report over at SB Nation’s Minor League Ball.

When did you first get into baseball as a kid and realize your passion for the game?

“I first started playing at the age of 3. Me and my mom would go out to my driveway and play catch every single day. My brother was a pitcher at the University of Georgia, so I always grew up around baseball. As I continued to follow him and watch him play, it became my dream too to play at the collegiate level. As I continued to go out throughout high school, I started to realize I might be able to play the game I love at the professional level. Now, I think I’m in a pretty good position.”

Did you have a favorite team growing up? Favorite player?

“Growing up, my dad was always a Red Sox fan so I was always a Red Sox fan. At the same time, being from Atlanta, I was a Braves fan. I enjoyed watching both those teams, and one of my favorite players is Dustin Pedroia just because he’s not the average looking big-leaguer. You look at him, as a small guy, and you’re just like, ‘wow, this guy is a stud.’ I like the way he goes about the game. He goes hard every pitch and gives it 100 percent all the time.”

Was there a turning point in time you can look back at when you realized you could potentially be a top draft pick?

“Growing up, I wasn’t really ever a showcase player. I never really attended showcases, I just went out and played summer player. Last summer my dad got a call from Perfect Game saying they really wanted me to come down for Perfect Game National. At first, I didn’t know about it but they called again and said, ‘look, you’ve got to get Drew to come down.’ When I did, that’s when my name got big. It was in high interest from a lot of people. About a week after that, I was ranked 18th overall in the nation. I didn’t know I was that good, but once I made both All-American teams I thought I was starting to have the resumé of a high-round pick. That’s when I realized I may be able to play this game next year professionally, and possibly someday in the big leagues.”

What are the major factors that will go into your decision whether to go pro or play at Georgia?

“Honestly, based on where I’m projected to go in the late first round or comp round, I don’t really see a reason that I’d attend Georgia. I think it’ll be good enough money-wise and pick-wise that it would almost be stupid of me to turn it down. As of right now, if everything goes as planned, I see myself playing professional baseball come about a week or two from now.”

What’s your biggest strength as a player?

“I have a couple. One is definitely my arm. I have a very strong arm from the outfield, especially as a center-fielder. That’s one thing a lot of teams talk about, that I’m athletic enough to stay in center but my arm could potentially put me in right field. My second strength is definitely my bat, with the ability to switch-hit and legitimately do it. I think I’ll be able to switch-hit at the big-league level and honestly I feel like I’m equally comfortable from both sides.”

At what point did you decide on switch-hitting, and how did that come about?

“I decided I would start switch-hitting at the age of 4. I actually have a batting cage in my basement, so I used to fool around with it. I’m a natural righty, so I’d always just mess around hitting lefty. My brother played with a guy by the name of Chevy Clarke, and his dad made him start switch-hitting at 15. When My dad saw that, and said that from that day on I was switch-hitting. So when I was about 8, I started doing it in games because that was the first year of kid-pitch. At first, I struggled, not really knowing if I wanted to do that. At 8 years old, you want to have the most success possible just because 8-year-old’s don’t really handle failure that well. I just grinded through it, and by the time I was 12, I started to get more comfortable with it. By the age of 15, I thought I might be better on the left side than the right side.

You’ve performed on the biggest stages, winning a state championship and at PG National. What is it about those big moments that make you so successful?

“Honestly, I live for those big moments. I would say the best players live for that moment, the moment where half the stadium is chanting “Overrated!” and the over half is chanting “MLB!” It just adds a little fuel to the fire and your adrenaline starts to kick in. I love playing on big stages and it doesn’t really affect me. The more people that are there, the better. I seem to perform better when there’s a lot of people there. Whenever there’s a good environment, I love it.”

What part of your game do you want to work on the most going forward?

“One of the biggest things is strength. Right now, I have good enough power to hit a couple balls out each season, but as I continue to get stronger, my hit tool and my power will get better. I can see myself at 200 pounds or 210 pounds, and at that weight I think I’d be a pretty scary hitter to face. Another thing is speed, it never hurts to be a little bit quicker. Lastly, you never can be a perfect hitter. Just continuing to work as a hitter and continuing to perfect my swing.”

Who is your major-league comp?

“A lot of people laugh when I say this, but... correct me if I’m wrong, there has not been a switch-hitting center-fielder with a big arm from center field since Mickey Mantle. So he’s one guy that I like to look back and watch what he did, just because, if I continue to get better as a player and continue to get stronger and perfect my game, I hope to be able to achieve some of the accomplishments he did.”

What are your expectations for draft night? Any goals as to where you’ll fall?

“I think based off the summer I had last year and especially this high school season, I showed guys I could hit with power and showed them that my hit tool was present. I showcased all my tools, so I think with the tools I have and capabilities I have, as I continue to get better, I see myself as a middle-of-the-pack first-rounder, and at the latest, a comp-round pick. I’d like to see myself go in the middle of the first round, but I mean where I’m being considered being drafted is just a huge honor. I’m ready to start playing.”