Jays From The Couch Is Missing Blue Jays Baseball, So We’ll Preview The 2020 Season For Individual Players. This Time, Brandon Drury
The Toronto Blue Jays are not playing baseball and that is sad. Sure, in the context of everything that is going on in the world, it may not be a big deal, but we still miss baseball. To pass the time, we’re going to offer up some 2020 previews for individual players as a way to provide some Blue Jays content while we wait. We’ve already previewed Teoscar Hernandez HERE. Now, it is Brandon Drury‘s turn.
Drury came to Toronto as part of the return for sending J.A. Happ to New York back in July of 2018. Billy McKinney was the other piece, making this a rather underwhelming package. Sure, the Blue Jays front office likely found some upside to this duo, but thus far, it has yet to reveal itself to fans, leaving some interesting questions. In the case of Drury, the question is whether he will contribute.
To be fair to the 27 year old comes with some defensive versatility. Since 2015, he has played in every infield position except catcher and both corner outfield spots. Of course, the playing time in each position varies greatly with the bulk of his time coming at second and then third. It was this defensive flexibility that offered a rebuilding Blue Jays team some kind of positive outlook.
However, when we look at Baseball Savant and his OAA, we see that he never put up a score higher than 0 in any season at any position until 2019, when he put up 1 OAA in right field and 6 OAA at third base. One supposes when you’re a rebuilding team, you don’t really worry over whether you have a Gold Glover playing multiple positions. Really, you’re looking for warm bodies who are auditioning for a larger role, which Drury has given reason to believe he could be.
If we look back to his time in Arizona, there is reason to think he very well could contribute offensively.
|5 Yr||5 Yr||1571||365||47||175||.251||.299||.419||.718|
|AL (||AL (||533||104||16||51||.210||.261||.362||.622|
|NL (||NL (||1038||261||31||124||.271||.319||.448||.767|
A utility infielder that put up double digit home runs and approached an .800 OPS is nothing to sneeze at. However, if you look even just a little deeper, you find less reason to be optimistic. For example, even in his best offensive MLB season (2016), his defense was bad, but his production wasn’t the greatest. For example, he put up 102 wRC+, but an Off value of -0.6. Maybe that’s a bit harsh. After all, if a utility guy can be worth that offensively, there are lots of teams that would take it.
The problem is that he topped out in 2016. The following season resulted in 92 wRC+, an Off value of -5.1, an OPS of .764, which was anchored by a declining OBP of .317. In fact, that was the last time Drury saw an OBP over .300. His offensive production has declined ever since. 2018 saw a Off mark of -7.4 between New York and Toronto. Last season, he put up a whopping -18.1.
And, this is where the Blue Jays are faced with a decision. The arbitration process was skirted this offseason with a $2.05M deal for Drury. Since the Blue Jays place a value of ~$9M on a single win, Drury would need to put up approximately 0.2 fWAR to live up to the value of his deal. It’s rough math, but it frames the context for whether the club will get the value they seek. Considering his -0.5 and -0.6 fWAR marks in each of the last two respective seasons, some improvements are needed.
As roster decisions continued so far this spring, Drury has managed to stay on the big league roster. He does have an option remaining, so they can send him to AAA and not worry about losing him…if that is something they might worry about. As these roster decisions were made (and will continue to be made…when the season actually starts), one has to wonder how long Drury will be holding a bench job. One couldn’t be blamed for thinking he would have lost it by now.
This is especially true when you think about the fact that Joe Panik, signed to a minor league deal this offseason, was added to the roster. How much more time does Brandon Drury have?
Perhaps, the postponing of the 2020 season came at a good time for Drury. His Spring Training numbers were not promising. For his sake, let’s hope he is using this time off to sort things out. There is no urgency for the Toronto Blue Jays, of course. They have Panik, they have options. And, they have the 2020 season, which is not supposed to be a competitive one. But, as they move closer to competing, time may be running out for Brandon Drury.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.