3) LA Angels infielder Brandon Drury has to step up in Anthony Rendon's absense
Truth be told, all of Gio Urshela, Luis Rengifo, and Brandon Drury really have to step up with Rendon out, but Urshela is who he is at this point, and Rengifo I don't think is going to play every day. Drury shouldn't really be playing every day either, but he has been, and with that in mind, he has to be better.
This season, Drury is slashing .226/.264/.460 with seven home runs and 17 RBI. He's striking out a whopping 31.1% of the time, well up from his career mark of 22.6%, while he's walking just 4.1% of the time. Drury has never walked much, but the strikeouts have been uncharacteristically bad.
I didn't expect the Angels infielder to repeat what ended up being a Silver Slugger season in 2022, but I did expect more than a 93 OPS+. I expected more than a .264 OBP. If he's going to play every day, he has to hit more.
Drury has been hitting mostly sixth this season with Rendon healthy. I don't know if Thaiss will jump him in the order or not, but there's a very good chance Drury will be hitting fifth, right behind the four-best hitters on the team.
I'd shy away from having the Angels bat two right-handed power bats who are much better against left-handed pitching right behind each other, but that's my guess as to what will happen most of the time. If that's the case, Drury has to be closer to his 2022 version than what the Angels have gotten this season.
We know he has it in him. We saw the series against Oakland. I know the Angels won't be facing that caliber of pitching really ever until they see the A's again, but it's not like Drury is incapable of getting hot.
We know what Gio Urshela is. He's a terrific defender at the hot corner who can hit a ton of singles and put the ball in play. Luis Rengifo is a guy who this season has proven to be undependable, and likely won't see the field much against right-handed pitching even with Rendon out, especially when Jared Walsh returns. Drury on the other hand, is a wild card. We've seen him hot, and we've seen him cold. He's ahead of Rengifo on the depth chart and will play most of the time. He has to step up.