Braves sign 2nd-round pick Waters

41st overall selection to receive a $1.5 million signing bonus

Braves sign 2nd-round pick Waters

ATLANTA -- Five days after being selected by his hometown team in the second round of the MLB Draft, Drew Waters prepped to make the short drive to SunTrust Park to enjoy his first full day as a member of the Braves' organization.

The club announced it signed Waters, an 18-year-old switch-hitting outfielder who was named Georgia's Player of the Year after recently completing his senior season at suburban Atlanta's Etowah High School.

According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Waters received a $1.5 million signing bonus. This is slightly under the slotted value for where he was selected, with the 41st overall pick. The Braves have not confirmed the value of Waters' bonus. 

Shortly after the announcement was made on Saturday morning, Waters arrived at the Braves' new stadium to tour the clubhouse, interact with some of the players and spend the late afternoon hours watching a game against the Marlins with his family.

"Honestly, I was like, 'Wow, I can't believe this is reality that I could potentially be playing at SunTrust Park in a couple of years.' I'm just excited," Waters said. "One of my goals was to be a Draft pick, but that's not my overall goal. My overall goal is to play in the big leagues. I know I still have a lot of work to do, and I'm ready to get at it."

Braves draft OF Waters No. 41

The Braves gave their first-round pick Kyle Wright a $7 million signing bonus, and third-round selection Freddy Tarnok is expected to agree soon to a bonus that is at least close to his slotted value of $709,000, according to a source. So the club will end up giving approximately $9.3 million in combined bonuses to its top 3 selections.

This will leave the Braves with approximately $1 million to spend within their bonus pool without incurring harsh taxes or penalties. They will likely spend less than a combined $100,000 on the six college seniors selected between rounds 5-10. The bonus pool will also apply to any bonus of $100,000 or more given to a player taken beyond the 10th round.

Courtesy of offseason workouts that helped him add 20 pounds, Waters now possesses a 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame. He is still able to cover 60 yards in 6.4 seconds. His parents attended Georgia Tech, where his dad was an offensive lineman and his mother a cheerleader. His siblings matriculated to the University of Georgia, where his brother played baseball and his sister currently plays soccer.

"Throughout my offseason, I knew I had to continue to get stronger, faster and continue to work on my swing," Waters said. "You really can't ever be the perfect hitter. So I did a lot of work in the weight room and a lot of work in the batting cages. I think it showed."

Waters batted .510 (53-for-104), with 15 home runs, four triples, and 13 doubles for Etowah this season. He began switch-hitting at 4 years old and naturally chose Chipper Jones as one of his childhood idols.

While working out for the Braves a couple weeks ago, Waters was thrilled by the opportunity to spend some time with Jones.

"It was really cool," Waters said. "You see these guys on TV and you think it would be really cool to meet these guys. Then you get a chance to meet them and it's fun because you always can learn. I got to pick his brain about switch-hitting."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.