The little engine that could: The curious case of Brandon Drury
“The little engine that could.” Brian Cashman recently said this in regards to a New York Yankee team who battled it out until the seventh and final game of the ALCS as a Wild Card winner. Just like that, the “thumbs down” run was, well, thumbs down. A bittersweet ending of what was a Cinderella run, the silver lining surrounding the loss was that the Baby Bombers had officially arrived.
On December 9, 2017, the Yankees land Giancarlo Stanton, pairing him with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, a healthy Greg Bird, and a breakout star in Didi Gregorius. The move transformed the Yankees’ lineup into the Murder’s Row of the 21st century. However, the Yankees were still going with the youth movement in Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar in a promising yet unexperienced 2B and 3B situation with other players like Ronald Torreyes and several other fringe-talent, camp invitee infielders, who have not had the greatest success in the majors. Now you might think with seven other “slam dunk” lineup spots filled, two highly touted infield prospects like Torres and Andujar would and could be the lightning in the bottle the Yankees captured in Aaron Judge and El Gary. Enter Brandon Drury into the mix.
The curious, low impact, and almost unrecognizable name, left some fans, and in my case fellow colleagues, in a daze. Why not just stick with the kids and their uber-high ceilings? Now I will stress it’s not the sexiest move on paper, at least for right now. However, Brian Cashman has done this in the past, in giving up guys who wouldn't crack the lineup unless the baseball gods themselves divinely scribed their names there. Scratching your head still?
Drury has a very favorable contract coming in at a fraction of the cost of the Starlin Castros and Chase Headleys that no longer reside in Yankee Universe. The 6’2,” 210 pound super-utility guy hit .267 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs in 134 games with Arizona las season. He can play 1B (we all know Birds history), 2B, 3B and even the corner OF, if necessary. His natural position of 3B is likely where this low risk/potentially high reward acquisition fits in.
He makes an already deep Yankees that much deeper, and depending on who you ask, like Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin, that much better. Nevin managed Drury for a stretch of seven weeks in Triple-A Reno where he compared Drury to a guy like a more “talkative Darin Erstad” and assured people that Drury probably received some “tough goodbyes” from former D-Back teammates.
If anything, it can be said it is that Yankees GM Brian Cashman has pursued Drury for at least the past two seasons and finally worked out a deal. His acquistion doesn't spell the end for Andujar, Torres, or Wade, it just simply give the Yankees a much solider option than Jace Peterson or Danny Espinosa in a competition of solid infielders.
Cashman received a player who is can be more than an everyday utility infielder. Maybe he was just buying time, a stop gap if you will, to sharpen Andujar in Triple-A to start the season. There’s a lot of speculation that both Andujar and Torres will start the season in Triple-A to refine various holes in their game.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the second and third base positions, but only time will tell Brandon Drury’s story and how he and the other Yankees youngsters will try to make 2018 a year to remember for Yankees baseball and their fans. However, Drury himself has made it known that he is beyond excited to wear the pinstripes and be a part of something special, and he believes that the sport has not seen even half of what he is capable of.
You could say Brandon Drury is a "little engine that could," similar to his team in 2017, he has a lot of potential and a lot to prove.
Article by: William Jouvin Jr.