Brandon Drury of the Arizona Diamondbacks has put up impressive numbers
For Arizona Diamondbacks utility player Brandon Drury, this past week seemed a watershed mark in his young career.
By last Sunday, he ended a weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a walk-off single to beat the first place So Cal club. Drury went 4-for-5 Sunday with a double and a home run. In 30 games after Sunday’s effort, Drury batted .367/.430/.592. In prior 15 games in that period, he batted .448/.522/.776. It may be a gross understatement to say that this 24-year-old rookie is just plain smoking.
In the one-week period ending Sept. 18, Drury hit .500/.588/.1036, and was honored as the co-National League Player-of-the Week. This accomplishment puts Drury in the Diamondbacks’ record books. He is the first rookie position player to win this award. Reliever Jose Valverde was the last rookie and that was in 2003. Drury was also the third Diamondback to win this award this year joining Jake Lamb (July 15-17) and Robbie Ray (Aug. 16-22).
For manager Chip Hale to find quality playing time, Drury was forced to play several positions. In this regard, injuries played a key role in his playing time.
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First, the absence of Nick Ahmed and David Peralta gave Drury an opportunity to get everyday at-bats. However, injuries to A. J. Pollock and Peralta earlier in the season provided Drury with his first chance. Taking advantage of inside pitching, eventually opposing pitchers caught sought to change their approach. Hitters, all the time, make adjustments, and after a few weeks, Drury began hitting the ball the other way. Yet, his effort did not show up in games.
On June 20th, Drury was optioned to the Reno Aces. Recalled four days later because of those injuries, Drury did not have time to work on the adjustments. In some cases, younger players need to go down and work on adjustments, but the Arizona Diamondbacks required his bat. Over the final two months of the season, Yasmany Tomas, Jean Segura, and Drury have, from an offensive standpoint, carried this team.
The biggest question for Drury is his position in the lineup for next year. At the season’s end, Jake Lamb was the third baseman, and third base is Drury’s natural position. Pollock, Peralta, and Tomas seem to have the priority in the outfield. Plus, Jean Segura has solidified himself as an All-Star again.
The solution may lay in trading or releasing one of three middle infielders (Chris Owings, Ahmed or possibly Segura), and keep Drury as a utility infielder. Some believe Drury could be the next Ben Zobrist. Filling in for players on rest days, Drury can get close to everyday at-bats. Injuries are bound to happen and could put him in the lineup everyday. The future looks to be very interesting, and battles looming for four middle infielders next spring at Salt River.