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The season that was: Brandon Drury

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Drury came to the Blue Jays in the incredibly popular J.A. Happ trade, back in July of 2018. We sent J.A. Happ to the Yankees and got back Drury and Billy McKinney.

Drury had been a top prospect, hitting #72 on Baseball Prospectus top 100 prospect before the 2016 season. And he had two pretty good seasons with the Diamondbacks (2016 and 2017) hitting .275/.323/.453 with 29 home runs in 269 games).

With the Yankees he had a tougher time, hitting .176/.263/.275 in 18 games in 2018, missing a fair bit of time with injuries and migraines and blurred vision. He said he had been dealing with the migraines for ‘years’. A irritated tendon running up his neck was thought to be the cause.

After the trade, he made it into 8 games with the Blue Jays, when he was found he had a broken bone in his hand.

Coming into 2019 he was to play third base until the team decided to call up Vladimir Guerrero and then be a utility player.

Before the season I wrote:

The Jays have Drury, Galvis, Gurriel, Travis and Urena on the 40-man, and Vlad will be added at some point. Eric Sogard is a non-roster invitee to spring training. Drury still has options so he could end up going down to minors if things don’t go well.

Steam figures Brandon to hit .245/.308/.393 in 343 at bats. If he doesn’t hit better than that, I can’t see him getting 340 at bats. I’d guess that, since Ross traded for him, he’ll get every chance, but he’ll need to hit better than that line.

Wrong on that one. He hit worse than that and played more.

Standard Batting
G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
120 447 43 91 21 1 15 41 0 1 25 113 .218 .262 .380 .642 70
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/17/2019.

Baseball Reference had him at a -1.8 WAR. FanGraphs at -0.6, making him worth a negative $4.8 million to the Jays. Not to worry, if he’s like me, his Rogers phone bill will even that out.

He had a .271 wOBA and a 66 wRC+.

Drury’s walk rate was 5.6% (team average: 8.4%) and strikeout rate was 25.3% (team average: 24.9%).

His line drive rate was 24.0% (team average 21.0%), ground ball rate 41.9% (team average 39.8%) and fly ball rate 34.1% (team average 39.2%). His fly balls were leaving the park 14.3% of the time (team average 15.8%).

Hard contact rate was 38.3% (team average 37.9%) and soft contact rate was 24.4% (team average 17.9). More of his contact was either hard or soft than the average player, far less of it was in the middle.

His BABIP was .271 (team average: .280). Perhaps he hit in a little bit of bad luck (a very little bit), he did have more than the average number of line drives.

He hit right-handed pitchers (.211/.264/.389) slightly better than left-handers (.231/.257/.364).

He hit better on at home (.226/.270/.424) than on the road (.209/.253/.333).

With RISP he hit just .175/.225/.350.

Brandon hit about the same in the first half (.218/.267/.383) and the second half (.217/.254/.383).

Drury by month:

  • April: .220/.264/.440 with 5 home runs, 5 walks and 37 strikeouts in 26 games.
  • May: .240/.263/.333 with 0 home runs, 3 walks and 18 strikeouts in 21 games.
  • June: .135/.224/.192 with 1 home run, 6 walks and 16 strikeouts in 17 games.
  • July: .262/.300/.538 with 5 home runs, 4 walks and 13 strikeouts in 19 games.
  • August: .240/.260/.400 with 3 home runs, 2 walks and 14 strikeouts in 22 games.
  • September: .176/.250/.294 with 1 home run, 5 walks and 15 strikeouts in 15 games.

If he could hit like he did in July for the full season we would be happier.

Defensively, he played all over the field: third, right, second, first, left and short. I wonder if he was the emergency catcher too?

At third base, he had a 2.4 UZR/150 in 528 innings. He made 4 errors at third (3 fielding, 1 throwing).

In the outfield he had a -26.4 UZR/150 in 204 innings. Really not enough innings for UZR to get a true reading but it is pretty clear he wasn’t good out there.

At second he had a -5.6 UZR/150 in 114 innings. Again not enough innings to get a fair reading. He made 1 error at second.

I thought he was a reasonable defensive player, but I’d likely not want him in the outfield anymore, but he seems a reasonable defensive player in the infield.

FanGraphs had him at 1.6 runs better than average on the base paths. He had no stolen bases and 1 time caught.

In games he started Brandon hit:

  • 1st: 7 games.
  • 2nd: 5 games.
  • 3rd: 1 game.
  • 5th: 6 games.
  • 6th: 16 games.
  • 7th: 32 games.
  • 8th: 30 games.
  • 9th: 13 games.

The Jays were 39-71 in games he started.

His longest hitting streak was 9 games. Longest on base streak was 14 games. The longest he went without a home run was 24 games.

His favorite team to play? He hit .500/.538/1.125 with 4 home runs in 6 games against the A’s. He also hit well against the Red Sox (.294/.360/.471 in 14 games) and the Rays (.289/.340/.533 in 13 games.

Least favorite? He hit just .059/.111/.059 in 5 games against Cleveland.


I’m ok with him as a utility player. He can play all the infield positions and do it well enough, defensively, not to hurt the team. My problem is that he’s been playing way too much. Of course, I’d also be happy, likely happier, with Richard Urena was a utility player. I don’t know why there is a reluctance to use our home grown players in those spots. We always seem to want to bring someone in to do that job. That’s not just a complaint with the current front office, we did the same in the past. I’ve never understood that. Urena could be a good utility player, we just don’t give him the chance, instead we run through a handful of other guys.

I guess utility players come cheap even when they are veterans.

Anyway, if Drury was in the usual utility role of spelling the regular infielders, playing once or twice a week. I’d live with him. Unfortunately he got into way too many games for my liking.

I like utility guys that make all the plays (Brandon didn’t make many errors). And occasional power doesn’t hurt. If Drury played in 40 games, getting 150 at bats. That I could live with.


Poll

I’d grade Brandon Drury’s 2019 season an

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    A
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    B+
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    B
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    B-
    (10 votes)
  • 4%
    C+
    (25 votes)
  • 8%
    C
    (44 votes)
  • 17%
    C-
    (95 votes)
  • 19%
    D+
    (106 votes)
  • 20%
    D
    (112 votes)
  • 9%
    D-
    (53 votes)
  • 16%
    F
    (90 votes)
545 votes total Vote Now

Brandon hits a big home run in the bottom of the 11th to tie the game. Justin Smoak would win it with a single later that inning.