Brandon Drury does not deserve to be in the minor leagues. Drury has over 1,000 MLB plate appearances and has been pretty much an average hitter, with a .270/.319/.447. Between rehab and demotion to Triple-A, he’s hitting like an MLB veteran playing a level below his potential, .313/.441/.448. The Yankees should call him back up.
Drury is probably not one of the nine best hitters in the Yankee organization. In fact, he’s probably not the best MLB player on the Triple-A Scranton Railriders–that honor goes to Clint Frazier–but he is perhaps better than Tyler Austin.
I’ve always been a big Tyler Austin fan. He’s always been a bit of an underdog. As a 13th round pick with only average tools, Austin has surprised with his ability to produce at every level. I remember his breakout age-20 season, where he not only hit .322/.400/.559, but also stole 23 out of 25 bases. I remember his struggles with injuries throughout the next few seasons, only to recover his career in 2016. Austin has always hit better than anyone thought he could.
However, he hasn’t hit well in the major leagues. Sure, there’s power. Austin is slugging .483 in 2018 with eight home runs, some of which have come in big moments. However, he’s striking out at a massive 41% clip, which is third-worst in the majors. As an okay first baseman, Austin has no defensive value either. He’s a replacement player.
Brandon Drury is better than a replacement player. Not only is he likely a better hitter than Austin right now, but he can play all over the diamond. Miguel Andujar deserves the bulk of the playing time at 3rd base due to his hitting, but Andujar has not been strong on defense. Drury could replace him late in games when the Yankees are leading. He could also play 1st, 2nd, and OF when needed. Overall, he gives the Yankees options.
I know that this isn’t an exciting swap. However, the Yankees and Red Sox are so close this season that one or two runs could be the difference between being forced to play the Wild Card game against a vastly inferior but potentially lucky team and winning the AL East. They can’t afford to carry a 41% strikeout player on their roster right now, even if a lot of us fans like the guy. Brandon Drury needs to be called up to the major leagues.