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We continue to look at the 2020 Toronto Blue Jays by looking at an infielder who was one of the Jays’ most ineffectual players: Brandon Drury.
Drury had built himself a solid major league career with the Arizona Diamondbacks, getting drafted by the Braves in the 13th round of the 2010 draft and then getting traded to the Diamondbacks in 2013 as part of a deal with Nick Ahmed, Randall Delgado, Martin Prado and Zeke Spruill with Chris Johnson and Justin Upton going back to Atlanta.
Drury made it to the major leagues in 2015 and didn’t hit much in his debut season, playing just 20 games but had a solid season at the plate in 2016, playing 134 games and hitting .282/.329/.458 with 31 doubles, a triple and a career-high 16 home runs. He followed that up with another strong year in 2017, playing 135 games with a .267/.317/.447 slash line, hitting 37 doubles, two triples and 13 home runs. He showed a lot of defensive versatility, playing both corner outfield positions as well as third and second base for the Diamondbacks.
Drury was traded to the Yankees before the 2018 season, heading to New York as part of a complicated three-team trade. He would only play 18 games with the Yankees, thanks to some blurred vision and severe migraines. He was activated from the injured list and sent to the minors where he’d play 62 games. Just before the trade deadline, he was traded to the Blue Jays along with Billy McKinney in exchange for J.A. Happ. He played eight games in Toronto, hitting .154/.241/.231 in 29 plate appearances but was heralded as a big piece of the puzzle going forward into 2019.
In 2019, however, he hit just .218/.262/.380 with 21 doubles, a triple and 15 home runs, despite getting a chance to play in 120 games. Manager Charlie Montoyo loved his versatility, playing him at third, in right field, at second, at first as well as in left field. He was anointed the club’s best defender at third base and, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. moving over to first, started 2020 as the regular third baseman.
In 10 games in the spring, Drury’s bat was nowhere to be found as he hit .125/.192/.167 in 24 at bats. When the season eventually started, he got into 20 games, hitting a similarly ineffectual .152/.184/.174. He was sent outright to the minors on September 4 and elected free agency after the season.
Brandon Drury’s struggles at the plate effectively neutralized his defensive virtues in his time in Toronto. With so many younger players who are finally growing into their roles at the big league level, he won’t really be missed.
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