After yet another disappointing campaign for the Los Angeles Angels, the front office has made some meaningful tweaks to the team ahead of 2023. Anaheim has added two notable bats in Hunter Renfroe and Gio Urshela is the mix in recent weeks, and now Brandon Drury can be added in with that group. The former Red and Padre has reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with the Angels.
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A Look at Drury
A journeyman infielder/outfielder, Brandon Drury played for four different teams between 2017-2021. Drury signed on with Cincinnati to start 2022, a move that worked out well for both the Reds and new Angel.
Drury received regular playing time last team with the rebuilding Reds, and flourished. Across 92 games, Drury batted .274/.335/.520 with Cincinnati. The 30-year-old hit 20 home runs and 44 extra base hits with the Reds, before being traded to San Diego. Drury hatted just .238 with the Padres, but did smack eight home runs. The utilityman struggled in the first two round of the playoffs, as Drury had just one hit over his first 15 at-bats. In the NLDS, Drury batted 6-for-15, clubbing two extra base hits and five RBIs.
In total, Drury set career highs in home runs (28), RBIs (87), and OPS (.813). The career season earned Drury a Silver Slugger at the end of the season.
Notable advanced analytics from Drury’s 2022 season included an increased pull rate, and an improved approach at the plate. Drury set a career high in Pull% (44.7%), not much of a surprise given the increased power output. On top of that, Drury showcased increased plate discipline. Normally an aggressive hitter at the plate, Drury cut down chases to a tune of 30.2%. While still higher than the league average, it was lower than the rates Drury sported from 2019-2021.
Drury won’t walk a lot, but the pop the 30-year-old possesses, and his ability to play multiple infield and outfield positions should be welcome for an Angels’ team that needed to upgrade its depth after a disappointing 2022 season.
What it Means
Despite not being active on the marquee names, Anaheim has made some meaningful upgrades to the Angels’ lineup this offseason. Most notably, Anaheim traded for right fielder Hunter Renfroe from the Milwaukee Brewers back in November.
The additions of Renfroe and Drury should add some pop to an Angels team in need of some offensive depth. In 2022, the Angels were tied with Baltimore for the 13th worst SLG (.390) and the sixth-worst wOBA (.300). For a team that possesses two of the game’s best hitters in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, it was clear the the Angels needed a boost in the lineup.
In addition to Renfroe and Drury, one of the more underrated pickups of this whole offseason was the signing of Gio Urshela. Among qualified hitters, Urshela ranked first in line drive percentage LD%, coming in at 30.1%. Albeit not a power hitter, Urshela is a versatile infielder that has above-average bat-to-ball skills, consistently makes hard contact, and gets on base at a good clip.
Anaheim’s lineup, with these additions, looks formidable. Pitching, however, will be key for Anaheim’s chances of success in 2023. A young rotation, led by Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, and newcomer Tyler Anderson will have their work cut for them in an AL West division that includes two 2022 playoff teams, and an improved Rangers squad.