What an eventful season 2017 was for the New York Yankees. You may or may not have heard this before about them, but they defied expectations to get to within one game of the World Series, Aaron Judge treated baseballs as if he was Anakin Skywalker and baseballs were younglings, and Luis Severino finished third in Cy Young voting. All in all, a very memorable year for the Yankees. What wasn’t memorable, though? Tyler Wade.
Tyler Wade apparently played in 30 games for the Yankees this year, which seems like a lot, but also doesn’t seem like that many? For me, it’s just impressive that he got into that many games without really doing, well, anything. Wade hit well enough in Triple-A to earn his chance when Starlin Castro went down in June, but failed to do anything with that opportunity.
In the minors, Wade hit a solid .310/.382/.460 with seven home runs good for a 136 wRC+ to go with 26 stolen bases across 85 games. In the majors, his numbers dropped to .155/.222/.224 with one stolen base and and 19 strikeouts. That amounted to a 30.2% strikeout percentage, whereas he only struck out 19.3% of the time in Triple-A. He looked over-matched and lost at the plate. While 2017 was a struggle for Wade, it wasn’t all bad.
He got his first taste of the majors, along with his first major league hit. He also got to his first postseason experience, making it on to the team’s Wild Card roster. His struggles were there, but it was a season of firsts for Wade and that can’t be overlooked. I’m sure that while he’ll look back on 2017 and wish it would’ve gone better, he’ll still look back on his first year fondly, even if we may not.
Though he struggled, it was only 30 games and 63 plate appearances, so go ahead and sing the Small Sample Size song. Hey, it could be worse. He could’ve gone full Kyle Higashioka, who is still waiting for that first major league hit.
Still though, the outlook for 2018 isn’t bleak. He ended 2016 in Double-A and then jumped two levels this year, so some struggles are allowed. His numbers in the minors have generally always been solid, so he just needs to work on that, remember what worked for him, and hopefully that’ll carry over.
With his ability to play multiple positions (shortstop, second base, third base, left field, and right field) and play them well to go along with his speed, he can certainly be an asset for the Yankees going forward. If he can figure out how to hit a little, he could be a more useful version of Ronald Torreyes, though he won’t be able to replace the Toe-night Show.