New York Yankees: Another year, another disappointing Tyler Wade season

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

In the last season he played at the Triple-A level, Tyler Wade had shown enough that the New York Yankees thought perhaps he was something more than a pinch-runner and defensive substitution candidate late in games. After all, in those 79 games and 335 plate appearances in AAA, Wade hit four home runs, has a 6.9 BB%, a 22.7 K% and slashed .296/.352/.425 with a .339 wOBA and a 99 wRC+. He also stole 13 bags.

With the Yankees’ big league team he had already failed in 2017 (.155/.222/.224 in 63 plate appearances) 2018 (.167/.214/.273 in 70 PA) and 2019 (.245/.330/.362, 87 wRC+.) But in 2020, he entered the season with some assured at-bats thanks to DJ LeMahieu being out with a bout of COVID-19.

Sadly for the New York Yankees, Wade couldn’t do much with those plate appearances. Overall, he slashed .170/.288/.307 with a .271 wOBA and a paltry 69 wRC+ in 52 games and 105 PA. Once again, it didn’t happen with Tyler Wade, and it’s time to realize that he may never realize his offensive potential.

He found ways to contribute to the Yankees, but…

Because of his defensive and baserunning prowess, the Yankees saw Wade contribute 0.3 fWAR in 2020. However, the offensive output was, once again, very disappointing. With an average exit velocity of 86.6 (in line with his career norms) he didn’t hit the ball harder. He lifted it a little bit more (career-high 1.05 GB/FB) but it wasn’t enough.

He did improve in a few areas, but these improvements were almost unnoticeable. He did post a career-high in BB% with 11.4 (higher than the 10.2 he finished with in 2019) and, despite a very bad .267 wOBA, he did have the highest xwOBA of his tenure with the Yankees, at .305. But when your best mark is .305, you still have a lot of work to do to reach respectability as a hitter.

Tyler Wade is a very good defender (in several positions) and an even better baserunner. However, unless his offense takes a step forward in 2021, he won’t have many chances to play in the Yankees. The numbers’ game may be starting to catch up with him, and he is running out of chances.

Should the New York Yankees finally give up on Tyler Wade?

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

Tyler Wade is in his fourth season as a member of the New York Yankees, and he’s once again struggling. He’s just 7-of-43 with a home run, three RBIs, and a .539 OPS in 2020.

Wade struggling for the Yankees isn’t something out of the ordinary. 2019 was the only season that he’s hit above .200 (.245), and his career average is just a sub-par .192. In this day and age, players can still be productive even with a low average, but that isn’t the case with Wade. He’s a contact hitter and his game relies on getting base hits. Wade just doesn’t have enough power to stay productive. He has just four home runs and 21 RBIs.

Well, why do the Yankees keep bringing him back? Wade is one of the fastest players in the league and can steal bases. He has 10 career stolen bases and has been caught just once. The lefty-hitting infielder is also a slightly above average defender, as he has two defensive runs saved in 2020.

Is it time the Yankees give up on Wade? He’s never panned out the way the team has hoped, and they’ve given him plenty of opportunities. Maybe a change of scenery for Wade would be the best thing for him, a way to possibly jump-start his career. Plus, no player is happy spending so much time in AAA, as that’s where Wade spends more time at than the big-leagues. He has just over a year of service time even though this is his fourth year in the majors.

The Yankees also have Thairo Estrada to take the place of Wade if he gets dealt in the offseason. Estrada has been much better than Wade, sporting a .244 career average.

Should the Yankees finally bite the bullet and give up on Tyler Wade?

 

New York Yankees: Is Gleyber Torres the Future at Shortstop?

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius

The New York Yankees are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak. A big reason for why that all started was Gleyber Torres.

In the final game of the opening series, against the Washington Nationals. Torres sparked a late-game rally by hitting a solo home run in the top of the 7th, taking out the gem-throwing Patrick Corbin. Then in the top of the eighth inning, he drove in Aaron Hicks on a single to left field, which was the game-winning run.

There are many questions surrounding the Yankees about replacing Didi Gregorius’s excellence at shortstop. Can Torres improve his defense to stay at short? Can Tyler Wade or Thairo Estrada break out, possibly shifting LeMahieu to first? How long will it take Anthony Volpe to make it to the majors? Will the Yankees go after Francisco Lindor?

Options for Boone at Shortstop

Gleyber Torres

The obvious answer for right now. Cashman traded for him to hopefully replace Derek Jeter in the long run. So far, he has shown he can do that. Torres has proven he can develop into a future MVP and captain in this league. Also, a quick reminder that he is only 23 years old. The only problem is: will his ability to hit for power at such a young age move him to second or third base like Alex Rodriguez?

Tyler Wade

The 25-year-old Wade has proven he can compete for a starting job, with his spark plug performances off the bench. He is also a better defender than Torres and has more range as well. However, his inconsistency at the plate will hurt his chances at getting that job.

Thairo Estrada

A less likely candidate to take over Torres’s spot at shortstop, but definitely not out of the question. He impressed the coaching staff in summer camp with his surprise of power off the starting rotation. His primary position is second base and may not have the arm strength to make deeper plays at short.

Anthony Volpe

His name is only on here as a long-term option. Volpe most likely needs 3 to 4 full years of baseball before he gets to the majors. He was a first-round pick for a reason. Time will tell to see if he has what it takes to be the next face of the franchise.

This could be an issue that Boone and Cashman should discuss if it becomes apparent that Torres is not the future at shortstop. For the meantime, Torres seems to be holding his own out there, and as long as he keeps mashing, he will only get rewarded even more.

 

Is Yankees’ Tyler Wade finally reaching his potential after dominant Opening Day performance?

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

The New York Yankees started off the season with the right foot, winning 4-1 in a rain-shortened game against the Washington Nationals, the reigning World Series champions.

Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton took nearly all the headlines, and with good reason. The former won by twirling five innings of one-run ball, while the latter uncorked a 459-foot home run off Max Scherzer, no less.

However, lost amid all the hoopla of Cole’s winning start was Tyler Wade’s performance. Let’s remember that Wade was supposed to be a utilityman, but the New York Yankees’ starting second baseman, DJ LeMahieu, went down with COVID-19 a few weeks ago. And while he was already activated from the injured list, he isn’t quite ready to start yet.

That’s why the Yankees decided to go with Wade, who won the competition to be LeMahieu’s short-term replacement during summer camp. The team had another worthy candidate in Thairo Estrada, but they decided to give Wade a shot, and boy, did he impress.

He made an impact on the Yankees victory

The game was called in the sixth inning, but that was enough time for Wade to make an impact. In two plate appearances, he had one hit and one walk, and the hit was a perfectly placed bunt single.

He showed off his impressive wheels by racing from first base to home on an Aaron Judge’s double. He was also very good defensively, and as he showed in 2019, he improved in second base. Is Tyler Wade’s time finally coming? For the New York Yankees, it would be an excellent problem to have: too many good players and few positions to put them.

Wade is only 25 years old despite having seemingly been around forever. He is a career .201/.274/.301 in 243 plate appearances in the majors, but with lots of reps, he could blossom into a 10 home runs, 30+ steals threat with a good OBP and lots of defensive versatility.

Will the 2020 season be the one in which he finally realizes his potential? Granted, lots of things would need to happen for him to get an extended look, but it remains within the realm of possibilities.

WATCH: Yankees’ Tyler Wade shows insane speed scoring from first base on Aaron Judge double

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

There is speed and then there’s Tyler Wade speed. The New York Yankees took a 3-1 lead in the top of the third inning against the Washington Nationals on Thursday evening. Aaron Judge slapped a one-out double to left field, and Tyler Wade, showing off his incredible speed, scored from first base.

Wade is filling in for DJ LeMahieu, who manager Aaron Boone sat for Opening Day to give him a few days of extra rest. This was a controversial move, considering he is one of the Yankees’ best players. However, Wade already showed his value to the team, adding a run with his lightning-quick feet. In 2019, Wade only appeared and 43 games, earning 108 up at-bats. He posted a .245 batting average with 2 homers and 11 RBIs.

WATCH GIANCARLO STANTON’S BLAST IN THE FIRST INNING HERE

 

New York Yankees: Can Thairo Estrada make the 25-man roster?

New York Yankees, Thairo Estrada

New York Yankees’ Thairo Estrada has been an interesting story in Summer Camp so far. He has shocked fans and coaches by outhitting everyone in Summer Camp. Estrada made his MLB debut with the Yankees last year. Is it time for him to embrace a permanent role in New York?

Before Summer Camp, it seemed almost impossible for Estrada to get a roster spot to start the season. New York has a lot of depth in the infield and it seemed like they already knew who they were taking before Summer Camp even started. However, Estrada’s recent performance in intrasquad and exhibition games have fans wondering if New York might make room for the 24-year old. He’s a great all-around player and might shine in a bench player role. Estrada is a great fielder and hitter, has excellent speed, and is a great base runner. However, it doesn’t seem like the odds are in his favor. Despite him being such a great all-around player, the depth that Yankees have decreases his chances of making the roster tremendously. Especially now that DJ LeMahieu has been cleared and is ready to go. 

The competition right now is between Estrada and Wade. Even though Estrada has hit better than Wade, the Yankees seem to trust Wade more. He is another player that is great all-around and also has a lot more experience in pinstripes compared to Thairo. Plus, the new man on second base rule in extra innings will fit Tyler Wade perfectly. He is no doubt the fastest player on the team and this new rule gives him an even bigger role in helping the Yankees win.  

But, is it possible the Yankees take him?

Although LeMahieu is back, he might not be game ready with less than a week to get ready. With that being said, Tyler Wade will likely start at second on Opening Day. Meaning, Thairo Estrada could serve a bench role for the Yankees until LeMahieu gets back on his feet. However, it doesn’t seem likely that Wade starts more than 2-3 games so even if Estrada makes the roster, it won’t be for that long. 

It is very hard to see an opportunity for Estrada to be on the roster for an extended period of time. But, his name will definitely be on the top of the list if someone gets injured. It’s another situation in which a great player is held back by a great team. Estrada would have no struggle starting for most teams in the MLB. It doesn’t look like the Yankees have any plans to trade him and seem to have loads of trust in the young infielder. Look to see how Thairo Estrada plays a role in the New York Yankees’ success this season.

New York Yankees: Gleyber Torres talks 2020, Tyler Wade, Clarke Schmidt

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Infielder Gleyber Torres is focused on helping the New York Yankees win the World Series in the truncated 2020 Major League Baseball season.

On Monday Torres said the Yankees’ mission is “winning everything” (quotes per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch).

“Last year is in the past right now,” Torres said on Monday. “We forgot that. Our mentality and our focus is on the short season right now. We have a mission; the mission is winning everything. That is the job, that’s the focus and mentality, and we’re preparing right now to get there.”

DJ LeMahieu was manager Aaron Boone’s projected second baseman this season, but the infielder recently tested positive for COVID-19, vacating the middle infield position for the time being. A prime candidate to start in LeMahieu’s place is Tyler Wade.

Torres, the Yankees’ likely shortstop, would be “100 percent comfortable” with Wade being his double-play partner.

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“I’d be 100 percent comfortable,” Torres said. “I knew Wade in the Minor Leagues. We’ve got really good communication during the double plays and during the game. It’s like growing up together, and it’s the same feeling right now.”

One of the Yankees’ top prospects, 24-year-old right-hander Clarke Schmidt, has caught Torres’ eye.

“Clarke is really impressive,” Torres said. “We always played a little joke, [saying], ‘When I face you, I’m going to try to hit a homer.’ And now I’ve faced him. I feel really good, I feel confident in all my pitchers.”

Last season Torres posted an .871 OPS and 128 OPS+ while totaling 38 home runs and 90 RBIs. He started 64 games at second base and 73 at shortstop.

Torres says he feels “good.”

“I feel good,” Torres said. “I’m just getting ready to see all the pitchers. I try to be ready each at-bat. I know it’s a little bit different because I don’t really like seeing my teammates; when they pitch, I don’t feel really comfortable. This is a moment to just be focusing in your area and try to get ready for Opening Day.”

The Yankees open the season on the road against the World Series-champion Washington Nationals on July 23.

Yankees Player Profiles: Tyler Wade, will this be his year to break through? (video)

The Yankees Tyler Dean Wade was born on November 24, 1994, in San Diego California. He played baseball as a boy and from the age of ten was a Yankee and Derek Jeter fan. He played ball for Murrieta Valley High School in California where he developed into a shortstop, who played several times at second base. Yankees scouts took notice of Wade and particularly liked his athleticism. They thought so much of him that they selected him in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB draft when he was just eighteen.

He had committed to play college baseball for San Diego State University but chose to forgo his commitment and sign with the Yankees. He made his pro debut in the rookie Gulf Coast League. At the end of the season, he was batting .309 with 12 RBI’s and the Yankees promoted him to the Staten Island Yankees. In the same year, he also played at the Charleston River Dogs and for the Trenton Thunder. He ended playing in 129 games for an average of .273 with 51 RBI’s.

He started 2015 with the Tampa A team but ended the season back with the Thunder. Between the two teams, he played in 127 games for an average of .262 with 31 RBI’s and with three home runs. He was an invitee to 2016 spring training but spent the season with the Thunder. He began the 2017 season with Scranton Wilkes/Bare but was called up to the Stadium on June 27. He ended up taking the shuttle between the Rail Riders and the Yankees multiple times. He was finally called up for the rest of the season on the 4th of September. He batting .310 for the Rail Riders but .155 for the Yankees in just 30 games. During the 2018 season, he was back and forth between the teams again. During the winter he played in the Arizona fall league where he worked on his outfield skills.

In 2019 he started his season with the Rail Riders but has been up and down again. While at Scranton Wade has been honing his outfield skills while his natural position is as a shortstop. As it turns out Wade is a pretty good utility player even playing second base, although isn’t the greatest hitter. He is still young and still developing. Wade was again called up when the roster expanded and made some exciting catches in left field.

There are reasons to think that this year just may be Tyler Wade‘s break out year. Each year in the bigs he has performed better than the year before.  Last season he ended the season hitting .245 with two homers in 43 games.  In spring training 1.0 he hit two homers in just eleven games, showing that his power is growing.  With Wade, his defense and fieldwork are not in question. For him to get more playing time, his offense has to improve.

Wade is the super-utility player that can take over if Gleyber Torres falters as the shortstop.  He can play at second and in the outfield with better than average fielding percentages.  This year he can be a huge factor with the automatic man on second in extra innings games.  With his team-leading speed on the bases, he can score from second on a hit or sac fly.  Yankee manager Aaron Boone recently sung the praises of Wade.

“Tyler can be that really valuable super-utility guy, rule change or not. He has an ability to defend the middle of the diamond, in the infield, and we have seen just how good an outfielder he can be when we have put him in that situation. For him, it’s about continuing to progress offensively and we think he can be a very valuable player for us, he is always (trying to improve) his offensive game, and looking to take advantage of his speed, laying down a bunt, and working on that line-drive swing. He’s got a pretty good understanding of the strike zone and hopefully, with more reps and opportunities, we can start to see that at this level.”

Wade is not married and there are no scandals attached to his name. In the offseason, he lives in southern California. He has an older brother Kyle. Tyler attributes his hard-working style to his military father. He became a Yankee fan at the age of ten when going on a family trip to Cooperstown he got to see a Yankee game at the Old Stadium. In that game, he got to see Derek Jeter do his famous jump throw.

When he returned home he practiced that throw in backyard Whiffle ball games. Wade carries a tattoo behind his left wrist the says “Confidence is key” For female fans, he is a bit of a heartthrob with his good looks.

The video below shows Tyler Wade’s speed and agility.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.  Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam

New York Yankees: Aaron Boone is expecting big things from Tyler Wade, and not just in the basepaths

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

The New York Yankees are not known for their speed as a team. When you think of the “Bombers,” the 2020 edition will be just that: a powerful team with lots of hitters capable of belting myriads of home runs. However, they do have some speedster and guys that can take advantage of that in the basepaths.

One of them, perhaps the best and most dangerous baserunner on the team, is Tyler Wade. The Yankees will likely use him to their advantage based on a single rule change that will be implemented in the 2020 shortened season.

For this year, each extra inning will begin with the batting team having a runner on second base. A guy like Tyler Wade can wreak havoc in the bases. While stolen bases aren’t particularly useful in that situation, he can advance to third on a fly ball, or even score from second on a single. He has game-changing speed.

According to manager Aaron Boone’s latest conference call, he will use that to the Yankees’ benefit. “There is no question that he (Wade) is an elite baserunner and that shows up when he gets in the game,” the skipper said.

The Yankees have a game-changer in the basepaths

Wade was in the 93rd percentile in MLB when it comes to sprint speed. Per Statcast, Wade is the fastest player on the Yankees with an average of 29.1 feet per second on the bases last year.

But the New York Yankees also expect Wade to be a valuable super-utility player, not just an extra-inning baserunning weapon.

“Tyler can be that really valuable super-utility guy, rule change or not. He has an ability to defend the middle of the diamond, in the infield, and we have seen just how good an outfielder he can be when we have put him in that situation. For him, it’s about continuing to progress offensively and we think he can be a very valuable player for us,” Boone said.

“He is always (trying to improve) his offensive game, and looking to take advantage of his speed, laying down a bunt, and working on that line drive swing. He’s got a pretty good understanding of the strike zone and hopefully, with more reps and opportunities, we can start to see that at this level,” the manager said.

For his career, Wade has a .197/.268/.298 line, which improved to .245/.330/.362 last season.

New York Yankees: 2020 is crucial for Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

In the shortened 2020 Major League Baseball season, teams are permitted to have up to 30 players on the active roster. With that being said, young up-and-comers Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier are very likely to see a spot on the New York Yankees roster all season.

Over the last few seasons, both players have been on the “taxi squad”, going up and down from AAA frequently. Neither of them have been able to make a big enough impact to stay on the roster for an extended period of time.

But, with the two players aging and minor league options dwindling, the Yankees may have to make decisions on them soon. Because of that, 2020 may be the most important season of their young careers.

Young and unproven

Although both players have shown promise, neither has been good enough to sustain a long-term roster spot.

Clint Frazier has shown a ton of offensive promise, but lacks defensively. He has a career .254 average in at-bats, but has -11 defensive runs saved in 100 games in the outfield.

Tyler Wade is kinda the opposite of Clint Frazier. Wade can play everywhere and has a ton of speed. His defense isn’t great with -5 defensive runs saved, but it’s the offense that really lacks. His career average is only .197 in 218 at-bats.

Unless either of the two has a breakout season, I have a hard time seeing them as possible pieces in the future. I’m sure they are frustrated with the lack of Major League playing time and wishing to develop on a younger and less crowded team. Trades for the players during the offseason may be what’s best for everyone if something doesn’t come out of this season.