If the New York Yankees are still looking for an internal fix at third base, infield prospect Tyler Wade should be the go-to name.
The New York Yankees were grooming top prospect Gleyber Torres to eventually take over third base at some point in 2017. They currently rank 20th in the Majors with a wRC+ from the hot corner and all Torres needed to do was adjust adequately to the position. Oh, how times have changed.
On Monday the team announced that their gem acquired in last year’s trade with the Chicago Cubs for Aroldis Chapman will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the 2017 season after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. All plans of replacing Chase Headley with an internal option have vanished, or has it?
Of course, it’s not a certainty that the Yankees even want to replace Headley, who’s slashing .281/.382/.368 in the month of June. Yet, Tyler Wade could be the next Baby Bomber to come out of the minor league system.
Ranked as the 11th-best prospect on the farm by MLB Pipeline, Wade has encountered magnificent success in his first season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A) while seeing time at six different positions (2B, 3B, CF, LF, RF & SS).
In 64 games, the 22-year-old is slashing .322/.386/.462 with five home runs, three triples and 16 doubles. He is also riding an on-base streak that dates all the way back to May 31 in a span of 19 games in which he is 31-for-76 (.408) with an OPS of 1.039. That streak has helped him climb to fourth in the International League with an OBP of .386.
The most notable part of his offensive showcase in 2017 is that entering this year, Wade’s bat wasn’t considered to be as reliable as his defensive prowess and, as mentioned above, versatility. Wade has relied heavily on making contact (16.9 strikeout rate is lowest since High-A ball) and getting on base (OBP highest since rookie ball) to find his way on everyone’s radar.
Not to mention the strides he made with his power, as his isolated power of .141 with the RailRiders is the highest of his professional career and his five homers already tied a career-high set last season with the Double-A Trenton Thunder.
The Yankees don’t have to make a move just yet and are anticipated to ride out Headley at third base, but Tyler Wade is perhaps the only option they should turn to if they start looking for an internal replacement.
Sure, it may require some 40-man adjustments (a Miguel Andujar promotion will not) but we’re talking about a prospect with very little left to prove in the minors.