Number Three - Brandon Drury
Brandon Drury came off a strong 2022 season with the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres and took home a Silver Slugger. The LA Angels then signed the utility man to a two-year contract, and he’s been able to replicate similar numbers in 2023. But with the Angels potentially tearing it down (at least trading off short-term players), Drury could be one of the first players out the door for the Halos.
Drury is coming off a year where he hit .262/.306/.497 with a .339 wOBA, and 114 wRC+. This is the second year in a row Drury topped 25 homers, smacking 26 while having a .235 isolated slugging percentage. Drury has been one of the most underrated sluggers in baseball the last two seasons. He outpaces Ronald Acuna Jr., Jose Ramirez, Jose Altuve, and Paul Goldschmidt in ISO from 2022-2023.
The only downside to Drury’s game is his so-so plate approach. He struck out 26% of the time in 2023, and had a sub-5% walk rate at 4.8%. He was slightly better in 2022 though with a 6.7% walk rate and 22.2% strikeout rate, though neither of those numbers were great either for the Reds/Padres.
Drury can fix one of two positions for the Pirates. That’s second or first base. He’s considered a solid defender at both positions. Last year, he had -1 defensive run saved, but +5 outs above average at the keystone. At first base, he had -1 DRS, and zero OAA. Second base is his better position, but he can more than hold his own at first.
It’s very realistic that Drury gets traded, and would be well within the Pirates’ price range, both in terms of money and what they would have to give up. He is owed less than $10 million. But because he only has one year left on his contract keeps him from ranking higher on today’s list. However, Drury is definitely a player that needs to be on the Pirates’ radar.