The Yankees have holes to fill at second and third base and the general consensus is that they will fill at least one of these holes through free agency or via trade. However, a perfectly capable candidate for either of these positions is already on the 40-man roster and his name isn’t Gleyber Torres or Miguel Andujar. We got a taste of Tyler Wade in 2017 and I think he’s ready to contribute in a much larger way in 2018.
His line from 63 plate appearances in 2017 wasn’t pretty (.155/.222/.224), but here are a few of the things working in Wade’s favor.
Last year in Triple-A, Wade recorded innings at every position besides pitcher, catcher and first base. Even if he doesn’t win the second or third base job outright, an argument can be made for him to form a platoon with Ronald Torreyes or serve as the team’s utility man. He rates best defensively as a middle infielder, but his sample size as a third basemen and outfielder are too small to make a real judgement. Wade’s left-handed bat would also provide some balance to a lineup that is a little righty-heavy.
Speed is perhaps Wade’s best tool, and the tool that is most absent from the Yankees’ current lineup. Wade has swiped no fewer than 22 bags in each of his last four minor league seasons including 26 this past season. Brett Gardner lead the team last year with 23. With Gardner another year older and Jacoby Ellsbury without a defined role, Wade’s speed would be a welcome addition to a lineup full of run-producing sluggers. It would be fun to have Wade on base when the lineup turns over to the likes of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
Every crystal ball on the planet will tell you that Gleyber Torres is the heir apparent at the keystone in the Bronx. While this may be true, we might have to wait a little bit before we get to see the crown jewel make his debut. Torres is coming off of Tommy-John surgery on his non-throwing elbow and it remains to be seen how much dust, if any, has accumulated. Factor that in with the fact that he has less than 100 plate appearances at Triple-A and the possibility of the Yankees wanting to delay his service time clock and it looks more and more like Torres will begin his season in Scranton. Anything can happen, but if I were a betting man I’d put my chips on Torres opening his season against the Syracuse Chiefs, not the Toronto Blue Jays.
Wade’s career slash line in the minor leagues is .275/.355/.364 which suggests that he is a much better player than we got to see in 2017. There is a chance that Andujar opens the season as the third baseman and the Yankees bring in a second baseman from outside the organization, but you shouldn’t sleep on Tyler Wade. I wouldn’t be surprised if they sign someone to man the hot corner (Todd Frazier?) and leave second base to a spring training competition that Tyler Wade just might win.
What do you guys think? Does Tyler Wade belong on the Opening Day roster?