Diamondbacks: Believing in Brandon Drury Heading into 2017
Brandon Drury was excellent for the Diamondbacks last season. But, can fantasy owners believe in the potential heading into 2017?
The Diamondbacks went into 2016 with high hopes and expectations. Unfortunately, things did not turn out that way as the team failed to live up to the hype, ultimately resulting in a lost season. While they had their share of underperformers, Brandon Drury was not one of them.
Brandon Drury ended the 2016 season with a .282/16 HR/53 RBI/.786 OPS line over 134 games. The Diamondbacks implemented him as their super utility man, offering him plenty of chances to see the field. With this full plate of playing time, he produced and showed why he was billed as a top-100 prospect prior to the season.
Drury has played all over the diamond during his time in the minors, but he will enter the 2017 season looking to be the starting second basemen for Arizona. Based on his offense he surely has the upper hand at securing that spot for good, which should pique fantasy owners interest. While in the minors, Drury’s offense was always his calling card. He is a career .275 hitter while amassing over 300 RBI.
His season best HR total was 23 in 2014, and his 185 career doubles continue to speak to his XBH hitting ability. The 16 HR last seasons were his highest output since that 2014 season, but there is reason to believe that it is here to stay.
He notched 31 doubles in the bigs in 2016, so it is obvious his gap to gap approach is a skill. Based on ESPN’s HR Tracker, Drury averaged 402 ft. per homer last season. Playing in Chase Field helps of course, but that is an impressive indication of his raw power.
He posted solid 20% LD, 50% Med and 33% Hard contact rates last season. He will need to cut his 50% GB rate more in an effort to raise his 30% FB rate, but the early signs are there that he could be in line for a breakout.
In terms of his fantasy value next season, fantasy owners could be drafting a potential four-category producer. He could offer quality AVG, R, RBI and HR totals. His counting stats will be buoyed by his place near the middle of the lineup with the likes of Yasmany Tomas, Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock in front of him.
The AVG numbers should be there as well as he batted .280 against both lefties and righties last season. Combine that with his minor league track record and it is clear to seen why owners should be optimistic.
Owners should believe in his power based on the authority in which he hits the ball and his XBH prowess. He will only be 24-years-old next season, so the room for natural growth is there, but one would have to think that a few more of those doubles turn into HR as well next season for the Diamondbacks.
In most fantasy leagues Drury will only qualify as an OF or 3B to start the year. Clearly, both of those positions are loaded with talent which hides Drury some. This is actually a good thing for fantasy owners. Second base does have its fair share of depth this season in fantasy, but having the ability to eventually add a .275/20 HR/80 RBI type of producer is a huge boost.
Owners will have to take him as either a CI or OF4 in drafts, but they should be patiently awaiting the chance to slide him in the MI or 2B spots once the season starts.
Brandon Drury is an emerging talent for the Diamondbacks. He has the bat skill, plays in bandbox, is a part of a solid offensive unit and a defined role on the team. Fantasy owners should make it a point to target him this spring as a breakout could be instore.