Randal Grichuk probably cringes every time he has to watch video of himself hitting from the early part of last season. He looked absolutely lost at the plate, and it wasn’t until he returned from a short stint on the injured list on June 1 that Grichuk really began to show what kind of hitter he is.
One has to wonder if Brandon Drury might be going through something similar to what happened to Grichuk in April of 2018. At the time, Grichuk, recently acquired by the Blue Jays in a trade with the Cardinals, wanted nothing more than to impress his new team. Unfortunately, he ended up pressing at the plate and wound up having the worst month of hitting in his entire big league career. Grichuk would hit .106 and strikeout in 31% of his plate appearances last April.
Having watched Grichuk for over a full season now, Blue Jay fans know that he’s a far better hitter than what he showed at the beginning of last year. Perhaps Drury, who’s still relatively new to the Blue Jays simply needs more time to get comfortable and start playing his best.
Just look at what Drury did in 2016 and 2017 while with the Diamondbacks. In those two seasons he would slash .275/.323/.453. Very respectable, especially for a player who was only in his age 23 and 24 seasons. The Yankees thought enough of Drury that they traded for him just prior to the 2018 season. The plan was that he’d become New York’s starting 3rd baseman. But those plans went out the window after Drury developed vision problems and migraines in the first few weeks of the season. Thus opening the door for rookie sensation Miguel Andujar to take over at 3rd base.
So far this season, Drury is hitting for a .148 AVG, .188 OBP, and has struck out 27 times in just 64 PA’s. Anytime a player’s strikeout percentage is over 25%, there’s reason for concern (unless that player can offset such a high K% with immense power). Drury’s however is over 40%. He’s always been prone to the strike out, but during his best years in 2016/2017, he was still only striking out 20.7% of the time.
I don’t want to make excuses for Drury, but I’m sure it can’t be the easiest thing for him playing 3rd base on a team that has the best prospect (who also happens to be a 3rd basemen) in all of baseball. Drury shouldn’t be concerning himself with the pending arrival of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Especially when there are so many other openings available on the Blue Jays. How about 2nd base, where Drury has played more games (143) than any other position during his time in the majors. Or in the Blue Jays outfield, where there’s still plenty of uncertainty and nowhere near the same kind of organizational depth that Toronto has with respect to infielders.