The Los Angeles Angels’ signing of Brandon Drury in the offseason was an aggressive move that banked on a veteran bat replicating the same success. Now that the first month of the year is nearly in the books, he’s seeing the fruits of a positive process begin to show.
During a career year with the Cincinnati Reds and following a trade to the San Diego Padres, Drury won a Silver Slugger award after posting a .812 on-base plus slugging in 138 games. This season, he holds a 95 wRC+ in 86 plate appearances with four homers and 14 RBI, but since taking a trip to the East Coast, he’s really found a solid rhythm.
Since April 14, Drury has a .877 OPS with a 137 wRC+ and sits in the upper fourth in Major League Baseball in hard-hit rate, all catching the eye of manager Phil Nevin, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“Love the way he’s swinging the bat right now,” Nevin said. “Driving with authority, going out there with a purpose. It’s good to see.”
Drury’s ability to move around the diamond is valuable for Nevin in the field but at the plate, his right-handed bat is on the upswing:
“Baseball’s a crazy game,” Drury said. “You start thinking a little bit too much and trying a little bit too hard. So it’s one of those games where you just gotta keep going because you never know. You take that one swing or see that one pitch and you remember, ‘That’s it. That’s what it was.’ For 60-70 at-bats, I was in there just grinding as much as I can just to get that feel back.”
For what Drury can provide in the power and extra-base hit department, also comes with a fair amount of strikeouts. But you take the good with the bad and the 30-year-old is working to find a decent balance:
“…I got a little bit lost in there trying to do so many different things at once. Now I’m just trying to keep it simple. There’s still room for improvement. I’ve been having good at-bats, but there’s also been some bad ones too. So gotta keep going.”
With David Fletcher optioned to Triple-A and Jared Walsh not having played a game in MLB this season due to some medical issues, Drury’s presence in the infield is a huge key to the Angels lineup.
Jared Walsh making strides in his return to Angels
Prior to Opening Day, it was revealed that Walsh had been dealing with bouts of insomnia and headaches and would be away from the club to find a treatment plan to get him on the mend. The Angels have been using Gio Urshela and journeyman Jake Lamb at first base in the interim, a platoon that has been less than stellar.
After missing the first month of the season, the Angels and general manager Perry Minasian believe he’s close to a return, perhaps in the next week.
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