Drew Waters is the best Braves replacement for Nick Markakis, not Cristian Pache

Atlanta Braves prospect Drew Waters (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Atlanta Braves prospect Drew Waters (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

With Nick Markakis opting out of the 2020 season, the Braves need not look far for a replacement.

Nick Markakis surprised many in the Braves clubhouse when he opted to sit out the shortened 2020 season despite initially reporting to camp. However, a conversation with Freddie Freeman changed all of that. Freeman’s battle with COVID-19 put the challenges of playing in perspective for Markakis, and the veteran’s decision was made days later.

While the Braves surely understand Markakis’ viewpoint, they must move on and embrace the challenge ahead. In doing so, there is a Markakis-sized hole in their outfield, but the solution isn’t as tough as some fans might think.

Should the Braves replace Nick Markakis with prospect Drew Waters?

While an easy replacement could be found in the form of free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig, why spend the money when it’s not necessary? The Braves farm system features two of the top outfield prospects in all of baseball in Drew Waters and Cristian Pache, the latter of which is essentially untouchable in trade talks.

Both Waters and Pache are 21, but the former is more expendable at this point, and directly replaces Atlanta’s left-handed hitting production out of their outfield. Markakis was one of the only reliable left-handed hitters in the Braves lineup. Between AA and AAA, Waters combined for a .309 batting average. His power is far from immense, but neither was Markakis’, making this a relatively seamless swap if the Braves choose to act on it.

Losing Markakis, who made the All-Star team as recently as 2018, will not be easy, and the Braves are already lacking Freddie Freeman due to his COVID-19 diagnosis and Felix Hernandez on the pitching front. For a team hoping to battle the World Series champion Washington Nationals in the NL East, things have gotten off to a rotten start.

Injecting some youth into the equation could do wonders for their chances.

Next. 5 Atlanta Braves alternate mascot names fans might be okay with. dark