Drew Waters had a season for the ages in 2019 with the Mississippi Braves, winning the Southern League batting title and taking MVP honors. Only four Jackson area Double-A players have earned an MVP award, the others being Darryl Strawberry, Gregg Jefferies and Roberto Petagine, all in the Texas League era. A true five-tool player and switch-hitter, Waters batted .319 with five homers, 41 RBIs, 63 runs, 35 doubles, nine triples and 13 stolen bases in 2019. Then he sort of faded away. Squeezed out in the talent-thick Atlanta system, the outfielder was traded to Kansas City in July of last year. Now in his second big league stint with the Royals, Waters is starting to make some noise. He went 2-for-4 Sunday with a 465-foot homer, a triple and two RBIs to help the awful Royals (27-67) beat first-place Tampa Bay 8-4 at Kauffman Stadium. Waters started the 2023 season on the injured list and scuffled when he first returned. But he has hit .319 over his last 15 games to boost his average to .252. He has four homers and 14 RBIs in 40 games. He might be a smart pick to click down the stretch. P.S. Cristian Pache, another former M-Braves standout, has had his resurgent season with Philadelphia interrupted by elbow surgery to have a screw removed. He previously had knee surgery this year. A onetime top Atlanta prospect, Pache is batting .327 in 32 games for the Phillies, his third MLB team. … Jake Mangum, former Mississippi State and Jackson Prep star still seeking his first big league call-up, is batting .333 in July and .293 overall at Triple-A Jacksonville in Miami’s chain. He hit his third homer on Sunday and now has 32 RBIs plus nine steals on the year. … Ole Miss alum Tim Elko belted his second homer and first grand slam at High-Class A Winston-Salem in the Chicago White Sox’s system and is batting .294 in 13 games at this new level. He hit .297 with 17 homers at Low-A Kannapolis. … The White Sox have signed former Ole Miss star Jacob Gonzalez, their first-round draft pick, for a $3.9 million bonus.