Setting realistic expectations for newest Angel Brandon Drury

Championship Series - San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four
Championship Series - San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Angels signed Brandon Drury to a two-year $17 million dollar deal. This was a pretty surprising signing as the Angels had already acquired Gio Urshela who offers virtually the same positional flexibility Drury has. Both are primary third basemen who can move around the diamond. Drury has more experience moving around than Urshela and he even has experience in the corner outfield, but both are capable.

Drury will likely be the Opening Day second baseman for the Angels. He's played there almost as much as he's played at third base in his career and it just seems like the best fit with how this Angels roster is shaping as of now.

What can we reasonably expect from the newest Angel Brandon Drury?

The 30-year-old is coming off of his best season by far splitting time with the Reds and Padres. He slashed .263/.320/.492 with 28 home runs and 87 RBI. His 123 WRC+ would've been the fourth-best mark on the Angels, only behind Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Taylor Ward. It was just one point behind another new Angel Hunter Renfroe.

Drury had never hit more than 20 home runs in a season before in his career as he bested his career high of 16 longballs back in 2016 with the Diamondbacks. Drury was an All-Star Game snub but he did win the Silver Slugger Award for Utility players.

Because this season far surpassed every other season Drury has ever had, expectations are hard to set.

He was at his best playing for the Reds. This makes sense as Great American Ballpark is one of the most hitter friendly parks in the game. Drury slashed .274/.335/.520 with 20 home runs and 59 RBI as a Red before getting traded to San Diego.

Drury's OPS as a Padre would dip by over 100 points but he still had a 109 OPS+ and hit eight home runs in 168 at bats which is not bad.

Despite playing most of the season in Cincinnati, Drury had 23 expected home runs at Angel Stadium according to Baseball Savant. Hitting in this lineup which should be good, I'd expect him to hit around that number.

If Drury comes out of the gates struggling, the Angels have a plethora of options to replace him including Urshela, David Fletcher, and Luis Rengifo. He can, at the very least, be useful as a platoon bad.

He slashed .299/.329/.626 with 12 home runs and 26 RBI against left-handed pitching in just 147 at-bats. Crushing lefties isn't new for Drury as he had an .881 OPS against southpaws in 2021 despite limited action. At the bare minimum, he can platoon with Jared Walsh at first while Urshela takes the everyday role at second.

If the Angels get a .750-.770 OPS player who can hit 20+ home runs and have a 110 OPS+ I think they'll be very satisfied. Those are my expectations.

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