Does Brandon Drury begin the 2016 season in the Majors?
There doesn’t seem to be any intriguing or starting position battles for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016. The only foreseeable one is the backup catcher’s spot where presumably Tuffy Gosewisch, fresh off his knee injury and Peter O’Brien look to duke it out behind starter Welington Castillo. It sure seems every other position is all set and the D-backs can now look ahead to Spring Training with the expectation that this team is good enough to make a World Series run.
Hold on a second. What about Brandon Drury?
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You remember him, don’t you? One of the organization’s top prospects, Drury had 12 hits in 56 at-bats during a September call-up. Nothing great to be sure but it also proved that maybe he doesn’t need to spend any more time in the Minor Leagues. Ever since the 2013 season, Drury has hit at every stop on the Minor League level, finishing 2015 with a .303 batting average and a .344 on-base percentage between Double A Mobile and Triple A Reno. Although most of his time in professional ball has come at third base, the 23-year old Drury has seen action at both shortstop and second base all the while still continuing to stroke at the plate. At this point, he doesn’t seem to have one set position within the D-backs’ organization. Will this relegate him to beginning the 2016 season with Reno to concentrate on one position?
Maybe there is a competition brewing between Drury and either Chris Owings or Jake Lamb that we are unaware of at the moment. Lamb had a solid, if unspectacular rookie season at the hot corner in 2015 with 26 extra base hits and a .331 OBP in 350 at-bats. Drury’s best spot defensively is at third while Lamb proved to be capable in the field making for an interesting situation should a camp battle emerge. More vulnerable would be Owings at second who slumped badly in his sophomore campaign partly because of a lack of an adequate recovery from shoulder surgery but also because of terrible plate discipline. 144 strikeouts in 515 at-bats is not what you want from a guy who generally hits at the bottom of the order.
Perhaps most complicating Drury’s status for 2016 is the presence of Aaron Hill. The veteran’s $12 million dollar contract is an impediment in trying to move him to another team. In addition, he is the primary backup to Lamb at third and Owings at second, essentially negating the need for Drury on the Snakes’ 25-man roster. It would be hard to see the team keeping both Hill and Drury once Opening Day rolls around. Therefore it would seem, the only way for the youngster to break camp with Arizona is to win a position battle with either Lamb or Owings.
Having good depth at the middle infielders’ spots is not a bad position to be in unless of course, you are the guy that is the odd man out. That seems to be the case with Brandon Drury and the Arizona Diamondbacks unless a competition is initiated or a trade is made.