It’s hard to call 2018 anything other than a disappointment for Tyler Wade. Without question, he won the second base job out of spring training, but once again could not put the pieces together when games counted. It’s hard not to be let down by Wade because he seems to be suffering from what I’m calling Greg Bird Syndrome. The Yankees organization seems to love him and on paper; he should be a great contributor to the team. On the field, however, his performance leaves much to be desired. Wade’s still young and refining his game, but 2018 was a step back.
2018 Statistics: 36 games, 70 plate appearances, .167/.214/.273, 5 XBH, -0.4 WAR, 29 wRC+, played 6 defensive positions
Contract Status: Pre-arbitration eligible
Expectations might not have been universally high for Wade coming into the 2018 season, but David Cone certainly thought Wade could be poised for a breakout.
Don’t sleep on Tyler Wade. Just saying.— David Cone (@dcone36) February 11, 2018
Cone’s assessment seemed spot on in March, but not so much in the later months of the season. For the second year in a row, Tyler Wade was a spring training all-star. He hit .286/.400/.388 in 22 games this past spring and spent time at second, third, and short defensively. It was a little surprising that he didn’t get any reps in the outfield like he had in previous seasons. Given that the second base job was relatively open at the time, it does make sense that he stayed in the infield. When Opening Day came around, the second base job was Wade’s to lose, and boy did he lose it.
Wade didn’t last a month with the big league club because he simply couldn’t hit. He began the season 3-for-35 with three walks and 11 strikeouts. On April 22nd, Wade was sent down to Triple-A, where he remained until July, and Gleyber Torres got called up to take his place.
Wade’s performance in Triple-A improved slightly, but he was far from effective at the plate, putting up a .255/.328/.360 slash line. It’s difficult to pinpoint why Wade struggled so mightily, especially since he was a .310/.382./.460 hitter at that level last season.
When Gleyber Torres went down with a hip injury in July, Wade returned to the big leagues for a few weeks. He had a very short stretch of being an effective replacement. On July 11th, he went 3-for-5 with a double and a home run. Then on July 13th, he had another multi-hit game against the Indians. The hot streak didn’t last, as those were the only multi-hit games of Wade’s season. Once September rolled around, Wade was used exclusively as a sub, and he was left off the playoff roster.
All things considered, Wade was just about the only Yankees prospect that hasn’t immediately contributed after being called up. Still, that doesn’t make Wade’s failures any less frustrating. Given Didi’s injury and the lack of a clear backup infielder, all eyes will be on him again once spring training kicks off in 2019. If he can ever hit just enough to stick around, Wade could be an extremely valuable bench piece and utility player for many years to come.