In this edition of ESNY’s New York Yankees Prospect Profile, we take a look at middle infielder Tyler Wade.
After Tyler Wade was drafted by the New York Yankees in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Murrieta Valley High School in Murrieta, California, he decided to forgo college and to pursue a career in pinstripes.
Wade stands out mostly for his speed and his great glove, but the bat is not as corrupt as the general perception assumes as he lacks power but comprises a solid contact approach from the left side of the plate.
The power has not been seen much for Wade since it is not a major tool in his arsenal, he bats around .250-.280 consistently and relies heavily on his impeccable speed as well as his great fielding.
Scouts on Pipeline rave about his quick feet and slick hands to go with his solid arm strength. With that, Wade’s defense and baserunning should continue to run circles around his offensive output.
Although being listed as a shortstop and spending most of his career within the organization playing that very position, the surplus of shortstop prospects ahead of him may bump him over to the second base position permanently.
Take a look at what scouts have to say about the rest of Wade’s skills:
Scouting grades via MLB Pipeline: Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 60 | Overall: 50
Wade made his debut with the Yankees organization the same year he was drafted, 2013. He spent 46 games with the Gulf Coast Yankees where he batted .309 and stole 11 bases before being called up to the Staten Island Yankees by season’s end.
He would begin the 2014 season with the Yankees’ Single-A affiliate Charleston River Dogs where he batted .272 with 22 stolen bases in 129 games.
Thanks to that magnanimous season, the Yankees began to apprehend the talent that they had in the young shortstop.
Wade would start the 2015 season with the Tampa Yankees, where he would hit .280 in 98 games with a stellar 31 stolen bases in just 46 attempts.
With that, his spectacular performance gave the organization no choice but to promote him at the midseason mark to their Double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder.
In 29 games with Trenton, the 20-year old would see his fair share of struggles and found adjusting to the new level quite troublesome.
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In 113 at-bats, Wade maintained a dismal on-base percentage of .224 as he struck out 24 times compared to just 23 hits. However, he did not let these struggles get the best of him.
Destined for improvement, Wade came into the 2016 determined en route to producing a .259/.352/.349 slash line with a .701 OPS and even a career-high in home runs (five).
No, those numbers don’t jump off the page but it is promising that the kid was capable of making proper adjustments to succeed at the Double-A level during just one offseason.
It is also well known that Wade will most likely have to make another adjustment, and play the second base position full-time due to Yankees’ top shortstop prospects flourishing throughout the farm.
“I feel myself sticking at short as I go up,” Wade told Pinstriped Prospects. “As the year went on we wanted to work at second just to be familiar with both sides of the field.”
Having a surplus of talent, Wade has moved up the ranks in the Yankees’ minor leagues fairly quickly, making his way to Double-A in just two and a half short years. According to MLB Pipeline, he is currently ranked as the number 15 prospect in the Yankees’ system and considered one of the top middle infield prospects.
Pipeline also gives Wade an MLB ETA of 2017 but it does not seem very likely with Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorious performing at an elite level along with guys like Jorge Mateo and Gleyber Torres likely to reach the show first.
However, if Wade takes 2016 as just one of many steps forward, his name may get the call sooner than we think.