The Yankees will be without rookie sensation Gleyber Torres for at least 10 days as the 21-year-old recuperates from a hip injury. The void instantly creates a crossroads for the club where it concerns who should gain playing time as a result.
For the Yankees, a trial period of sorts develops where they can choose to test the value of Neil Walker or Brandon Drury. Walker has been used in a very limited part-time role and Drury is finally back with the big league club after battling through migraine and blurred vision issues, which effectively lost him the starting job at third base.
When measuring overall value, Walker and his lousy .518 OPS (187 plate appearances) is completely expendable with multiple middle infield options available in the farm system including Ronald Torreyes, who could be the roster addition to replace Torres. The Yankees need to stop prioritizing Walker's playing time.
Drury, a controllable asset for the next three seasons, is significantly more useful to the Yankees whether as part of the organization going forward or as a player to use as a trade piece this summer. As such, Drury would be my primary choice to play second base while Torres recuperates.
Drury, just 25 years old, presents an important issue for the Yankees to come to terms with. It seemed that Drury would become their Swiss Army knife utility player, receiving playing time all over the field once Miguel Andujar ran away with the third base job. Unfortunately, Drury's injury and rehab kept him down in Triple-A longer than expected and then the lack of a need for a utility fielder squelched his chances of returning to the big league roster.
Drury's recent call-up came courtesy of the poor performance from Greg Bird at first base, but he played two full seasons in Arizona as the Diamondbacks' second baseman. Drury, who owns a career OPS of .763 (94 OPS+), has considerably more upside at the plate than Walker, and sufficient fielding skills at second base despite the hot corner encompassing most of his overall experience in professional ball.
For Drury on a personal level, the chance to demonstrate his worth is quite important to his future with either the Yankees or to another club. In that respect, new found playing time should provide plenty of drive for Drury
A potential platoon seems like the "Yankees' way" when it becomes available, but that's a completely short-sighted option in this circumstance. It would provide the switch-hitting Walker, a player that has been exposed as one in severe decline, more playing time than the right-handed hitting complement in Drury.
No one wants an injury to a productive position player like Torres. But at this stage in the season, it presents the perfect time for the Yankees to put Drury on stage for themselves and any other team that might be interested in his services versus Walker's likely drain in the lineup.
There is upside both in the short and long-term with Drury at second base, while using Walker there provides little to no benefit now or beyond this season.
It is once again time for the Yankees to run with a young, talented player like Drury, instead of one on the wrong side of production value like Walker.