Yankees Prospect Profile: Tyler Wade

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

He was drafted just a few months ago, but is he already the best shortstop in the system?

Background

The Yankees minor league system is essentially a barren wasteland when it comes to shortstop prospects. That's probably concerning considering Derek Jeter is in the twilight of his career and they have no one even close to even contributing. Cito Culver was a bust of a first round pick, so it makes sense that Tyler Wade, the Yankees' fourth-round pick in 2013, could already be one of their top prospects at the position after half a season.

Taken out of Murrieta Valley High School in Murrieta, California, I originally reported that "there is some speculation that he may end up moving to third base eventually, once he fills out a little more, but most scouts are convinced he can remain at shortstop. Wade has the arm strength to play either position on the left side of the infield, and his gap power could eventually progress a little, but he's not likely to ever be a home run hitter."

2013 Results

Wade proved to be one of their best picks of the 2013 draft. In 46 games and 198 plate appearances in rookie ball, he batted .309/.429/.370 with an impressive, for a high schooler, 32 walks against 42 strikeouts. He was mostly a singles hitter, collecting 50 hits and 10 doubles, but he also managed to steal 11 bases, showing a little bit of everything in his game. He was promoted to Short Season Staten Island for a four-game cup of coffee where he collected a hit and two walks. As for his defense, he was solid enough, committing only seven errors in 160 total chances on the season as the double play partner to Gosuke Katoh.

2014 Outlook

After a mere 50 games of pro ball, it's impossible to know what Wade can offer going forward. We've certainly been tricked before after Dante Bichette's impressive premiere. He could continue on this track or completely fall off a cliff, but scouts seem to be confident in his abilities going forward. Wade's still only 19 years old, so he has plenty of time to refine his glove work and increase his power while he fills out over the next few years. As it stands, it looks like the Yankees got a steal in the fourth round, but we'll see what happens.

Even if he ultimately has to move to third base, the Yankees' system is so barren there as well that it really won't be that big of a disappointment, but they'll keep him at short or as long as they can until he proves he can't handle the position. Limiting the scope to just 2014, Wade will likely spend time in extended spring training before moving over to Staten Island when the short season New York-Penn League starts up in June. If he excels, he could make it to Low-A Charleston for a cup of coffee at the end of the year. It won't take too much success to cement him as the Yankees' top shortstop prospect.

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