New York Yankees: 3 low-key players that could have a productive 2020 season

New York Yankees, Mike Ford

The New York Yankees always manage to scrape the bottom of the barrel when it comes to value. In 2019, they saw several reserves emerge as starting players and contribute towards their 103-win season. The injuries that plagued the team made it incredibly difficult to drag out victories regularly. However, they still managed to finish with one of the best records in all of baseball, thanks largely in part to the resurrection of Brett Gardner’s power.

Here are three low-key players that could have big seasons for the New York Yankees in 2020:

1.) Tyler Wade

Wade emerged from his disastrous 2018 season with a bit of a bounce-back year in 2019. Across 43 games, he posted a 10.2% BB Rate, seven stolen bases, and a 0.3 fWAR. The agile utility player will never be a big-time slugger, but he’s a great base runner and reliable defender. Increasing his plate discipline and contact rate will be a priority for him next season, and he’s preparing to make the jump to regular playing time finally.

If Wade can impress during spring training, there’s little evidence that suggests he can’t have a big year (for a reserve) in 2020, similar to Cameron Maybin for the Yankees in 2019. After being assigned to Scranton/Wilkes Barre last season in place of Mike Tauchman, Wade was vocally upset, expressing his concern to the media.

For more information on Tyler Wade and what to expect from him in 2020, read the article linked here by ESM’s Nick Nielsen.

2.) Mike Ford

The New York Yankees need a quality left-handed hitter in the absence of Aaron Hicks. Having just Brett Gardner, Tyler Wade, and Mike Tauchman available, it places more value on Mike Ford. At 27-years-old, Ford earned his first playing time in the MLB in 2019, posting a .259 batting average with 12 homers. He fits perfectly into the Yankees’ home-run centric mentality, which could earn him an expanded role next season.

I wouldn’t expect Ford to blow the roof off, but he’s capable of improving incrementally and providing value on offense. Defensively, he’s a decent first baseman, but hopefully, Luke Voit can remain healthy and active throughout the year.

3.) Clint Frazier

Frazier has been tormented by his arrogance in recent years, snapping back at the media in 2019 after a defensive dud against the Boston Red Sox. Frazier was quickly reassigned to Triple-A ball and would not see the top-level for a majority of the 2019 season.

Red Thunder is a capable offensive player but lacks the consistency on defense to remain a starter. After logging a .267 batting average with 12 homers and 38 RBIs, Frazier’s value crept up into the tradeable range. The Yankees have explored the idea of trading him in a package deal for a quality relief pitcher, but nothing has materialized. I imagine he will remain with the team next season in a limited role. Still, if he shows improvement on defense, he could quickly earn significant playing time, especially if injuries arise again.