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Atlanta's Top Prospect Drew Waters, More Traded to Royals for 35th Pick

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 11, 2022

Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Atlanta will acquire the No. 35 overall pick in the 2022 MLB draft from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for three minor leaguers, the Royals announced Monday.

Kansas will receive center fielder Drew Waters, pitcher Andrew Hoffmann and infielder CJ Alexander as part of the return package.

ESPN's Jeff Passan first reported news of the trade.

Waters is considered Atlanta's No. 1 prospect, according to MLB.com, while Hoffman is rated No. 23.

Before the 2021 season, Waters was considered a top-40 prospect by multiple publications and earned a spot on the 2021 Futures Game roster.

The 23-year-old has struggled at the higher levels of the minors, however. In three different stints in Triple-A, he has recorded a .246 batting average and a .324 on-base percentage in 178 games.

Waters has dealt with hamstring issues in 2022 and has a .246/.305/.393 slash line in Triple-A, adding just five home runs in 49 games.

He will now get a fresh start with the Royals organization, which is looking to add high-upside talent as it heads toward a sixth straight losing season. Kansas City enters Monday in last place in the AL Central with a 32-52 record.

Hoffmann could also help after a strong start in High-A, producing a 2.36 ERA in 15 starts this year. The 22-year-old has 90 strikeouts in 80 innings.

Alexander, 25, has 15 home runs and 13 stolen bases in 68 appearances at Double-A this season.

Draft picks are not often traded in baseball, but the 35th selection is moveable as a competitive-balance-round pick, as Passan noted. As one of the 10 teams with the smallest revenue, the Royals had received that selection ahead of the start of Round 2.

Acquiring that selection from K.C. helped Atlanta add to its bonus pool thanks to the $2.2 million slot for the pick, per Passan. The team moved from 19th to 10th in overall bonus money for the draft, which could allow it to be more aggressive in targeting tough-to-sign players.

The 2022 draft is set to begin Sunday and run through July 19.

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