Needing desperately to replenish their system with quality shortstop prospects, the Yankees took Tyler Wade in the fourth round of the 2013 draft out of Murrieta Valley High School in Murrieta, California. He had a commitment to play for San Diego State, but the Yankees were able to sign him about a week after the draft for $371,300, which was exactly slot value for his pick.
Wade is listed at 6'1" and 180 lbs and, at just 19 years old, he still has some room to fill out his frame a little bit. He's known for his athleticism, good hands and good range to either side too. His arm isn't the strongest, but it's not so weak that scouts feel he will one day have to switch positions. By all reports, it is believed that Wade's defense and skills will keep him at shortstop for his entire career. At the plate, he's a lefty who has a good sense of the strike zone and sprays line drives all over the field. He has no power whatsoever right now – only 1 home run in 179 career games as a pro – and isn't expected to add any significant pop as he matures, so we're probably looking at a bottom-of-the-order hitter here. He'll get on base and use his good speed to hopefully do some damage on the base paths.
Charleston (A): 129 G, .272/.350/.349, 24 2B, 6 3B, 1 HR, 22 SB, 118 K, 100 wRC+, 2.8 WARP
After a solid first pro season in 2013, the Yankees pushed Wade to Low-A Charleston. When fellow prospect Abi Avelino missed two months with a quad injury, Wade stepped into the starting shortstop role for the Riverdogs. He held his own, slashing .272/.350/.349 with 31 extra-base hits and a respectable 9.9% walk rate. As I mentioned before, Wade has no power, but he did manage to hit his first professional home run last year, on August 21 against Ty Buttrey of the Greenville Drive (Boston's Sally League affiliate). He also held his own defensively as Katoh's double play partner. Like any young shortstop, he made some errors, but he's still showing that he has the tools to stay at shortstop, which is all you're looking for from a 19-year old kid in A-ball.
It looks as though Wade will continue moving upward in 2015, as he is penciled in as the starting shortstop for the High-A Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League. Wade will be given the chance to prove he can play everyday shortstop at this new level as well, and has even been working on adding some power this off-season as his body fills in and he matures physically. He's not ever expected to be a double digit homers kind of hitter, but if he keeps working on his plate discipline and keeps hitting line drives everywhere, he should be OK. If he can develop into a 40 doubles guy, he shouldn't need to hit too many homers. I think he'll end up playing in Tampa all year long, and hopefully look to move up to AA Trenton in 2016 if he proves he can handle the pitching.
Between Wade, Avelino and Jorge Mateo, the Yankees certainly have replenished their shortstop depth in the lower levels. I'm excited to see which one of the bunch ends up in the Bronx. Maybe it will be Tyler.
Check out a Prospect Watch video from last July: