Monday, March 26, 2018

Meet a Prospect Special Edition: Brandon Drury

The New York Yankees and their General Manager Brian Cashman did what the New York Yankees and GM Brian Cashman do during the winter months, they stuck to their guns. What do I mean? In recent years the Yankees have presumably been difficult to negotiate with when it comes to offseason and hot stove trades because when Cashman says something, he generally sticks to his guns. Cashman made it very clear that he was interested in then Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Brandon Drury but refused to succumb to the demands of the Diamondbacks GM for much of the offseason. A few weeks back, though, the Tampa Bay Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks attempted to strike a deal that would have included Steven Souza Jr. going from Tampa Bay to the desert, these two teams could not make it work so they called into the Bronx for a little bit of help. Long story short, the Diamondbacks got Souza Jr. to replace JD Martinez and the Yankees and Cashman got their man in Drury for two good prospects who didn’t appear to have a future with the Yankees MLB team. Where I am from they call that a win, win, and win the Yankees will with their new infielder Drury. Let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect Special Edition, the Brandon Drury Edition.

Brandon S. Drury was born on August 21, 1992 and is currently playing third base for the New York Yankees, his second Major League team. Drury came over to the New York Yankees in a three-team trade involving the Arizona Diamondbacks, Drury’s former team, and the Tampa Bay Rays. New York gave up RHP Taylor Widener and 2B Nick Solak in the deal to acquire Drury who comes with four years of team control and a pre-arbitration salary through the 2018 season.

Drury attended Grants Pass High School in Grants Pass, Oregon where he played shortstop for the school’s baseball team. Drury caught the attention of the Atlanta Braves in 2010 leading the team to draft him in the 13th round of the 2010 MLB First Year Players Draft. Drury signed with the Braves and almost immediately made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast Braves finishing his first season with a .198/.248/.292 triple slash with three home runs in 192 at-bats. Drury spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons in the Braves minor league system including the 2011 season where the infielder won the Appalachian League MVP Award where he hit .347/.367/.525 with eight home runs n 265 at-bats. The Braves loved what they had in Drury but in 2013 the organization decided they liked Justin Upton a little better leading the team to trade him alongside Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Zeke Spruill and Nick Ahmed to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson.

Drury made a great first impression with his new team in 2013 batting .302/.362/.500 with 15 home runs in 134 games with the South Bend Silver Hawks leading the team to promote him to Double-A during the 2014 season. Drury was on the fast track to the Major Leagues, which was never more evident than it was when the team announced that Drury would be one of the team’s representatives in the Arizona Fall League following the 2014 season. Drury was on the radar with the big league club and his efforts both in the Minor Leagues and in the Arizona Fall League earned him an invitation to Spring Training camp in 2015, although Drury was eventually reassigned to a minor league camp back in Double-A. Drury eventually made his way to Triple-A during the 2015 season after being called up to the Reno Aces on June 23. Drury was added to the Diamondbacks 40-man roster and was called up to the Major Leagues on September 1, 2015 making his debut the same day.

In Drury’s MLB debut the right-handed faced the Colorado Rockies and Jon Gray who gave up Drury’s first MLB hit, a single. Drury would hit his first home run 21 days later on September 22, off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Adam Liberatore. Drury opened eyes with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and his efforts earned him another invitation to Spring Training camp with Arizona to start the 2016 season, an opportunity Drury took full advantage of. Drury made the team out of spring training and despite being listed as the team’s backup outfielder on the roster, Drury also found at-bats at second base and third base in order to keep his bat in the lineup. Drury did find himself back in the Minor Leagues for a week during 2016, the team needed to find a spot for Shelby Miller who was coming off the disabled list, but he was immediately called back after an injury to outfielder Socrates Brito occurred.

Drury spent the 2017 season with Arizona and did Brandon Drury things. Drury hit for a good average slashing .267/.317/.447/.764 while hitting 13 home runs and showing “doubles” and gap power inside what is considered to be a pitcher-friendly ballpark. Drury also spent time at three different positions including second base, third base and the DH position while the Diamondbacks were in an American League park. Drury had a Drury-type season showing consistency across the board and an ability to handle himself at any position and on all sides of the game.

The efforts of Drury caught the eye of Yankees GM Brian Cashman who sought his services for much of the winter via a trade. Arizona was quite fond of Drury and refused to part with him for less than a King’s ransom until the Tampa Bay Rays dangled outfielder Steven Souza Jr. in front of their eyes, forcing the hand of the Diamondbacks to include him in the three-team trade including the Yankees. The Diamondbacks got Souza Jr. in the trade to replace the recently departed JD Martinez and the Yankees, and Brian Cashman, finally got their man in Drury. Now Drury will be manning the hot corner inside Rogers Centre on Opening Day 2018 as the starting third baseman for the New York Yankees. No pressure, Brandon. I am sure you will do fine. Welcome to the team, welcome to the city and most importantly welcome to the family!!

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