Brandon Drury has the potential to be an above-average major league player, but the Yankees just have him rotting down in Triple-A, which leaves fans wondering what they should do with the versatile infielder.
Brandon Drury has been named the International League Player of the Week. Drury hit .471 from June 11 – June 17 for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railraiders and is slashing .360/.470/.529 in 164 PAs in Triple-A for the season. This man deserves a promotion.
The problem? There’s no room for him. As we’ve discussed previously, the Yankees have an embarrassment of riches at the Major League level, particularly in the infield. During the offseason, General Manager Brian Cashman received high praise for bringing in the likes of Drury and Neil Walker to play third base and second base, respectively, while keeping those spots warm for prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres. As we’ve seen, Andujar and Torres have shown themselves more than capable of playing at a high level in the majors.
Their ascendance leaves Drury without a position on the major league squad, where he’s only logged 8 games thus far. So what should the Yankees do?
Should the Yankees Call-Up Drury?
If the Yankees decided that Drury is simply playing too well to keep him in the minors, he would not be playing every day. They would most likely have to use him as a backup first baseman and platoon him with Greg Bird, who is hitting a paltry .143 against left-handed pitching.
Drury could then fill in as a backup Second Baseman, Third Baseman, and Outfielder. He would most likely not see much time at any of the positions given that he’s on the wrong side of the platoon at first, and the aforementioned Torres and Andujar will not be seeing much time on the bench.
Unless there’s an injury, it doesn’t seem likely that the Yankees would be very well served by relegating Drury to a backup role on the big league club.
Should the Yankees Trade Drury?
Though he may be somewhat of an elder statesman on these Yankees, Drury is only 25 years old. He was MLB Pipeline’s #5 ranked prospect in 2015. He’s shown potential and he can play multiple positions. He’s also young enough to develop more power and hasn’t entered his prime yet. He could be a valuable trade chip to either a team looking to add depth and win now or a team still in the rebuilding process who is looking to contend a few years from now.
A package involving Clint Frazier and Brandon Drury could yield a nice starting pitcher in return for the Yankees to compete for a championship this year. The issue might be finding the right suitor. Frazier and Drury might fit on the Tigers who have been rumored to be shopping Michael Fulmer. Either of them could fit on Texas where Cole Hamels is on the block as well.
Should the Yankees Keep Drury Where He Is?
Great postseason teams always have depth. Stars, young players, and role players who all contribute to help the team win games, both during the regular season and the postseason. As well as Torres and Andujar are playing, the league could adjust to them in the second half and they might go cold. Having Drury ready to step back into second or third base would be enormously beneficial. With the Red Sox playing at an extremely high level, and likely to continue to do so, the Yankees can ill afford to let their rookies figure things out at the Major League level.
Unfortunately, there’s also the possibility that someone could get injured. Greg Bird’s injury history is notorious. Giancarlo Stanton has some history as well, though his are more freak injuries. While Tyler Austin filled in nicely with Bird out, he seemed overmatched by the time Bird returned. The Yankees have been getting Drury reps at First Base for such a situation. Since Drury can play both infield and outfield, the Yankees might be better off hanging on to him as an insurance policy.
Ultimately, whatever Brian Cashman decides to do will be the right decision (he is a wizard after all). We will see Cash upgrade their starting pitching with the depth that the Yankees have, however, that does not necessarily mean that Drury will be traded. The Yankees have so many high-quality prospects that they could upgrade starting pitching and also keep Drury. It seems like the best of both worlds if the Yankees upgrade the rotation while keeping Drury in the minors and using him as insurance.