It’s getting increasingly difficult to justify Tyler Wade‘s spot on the New York Yankees roster, simply due to his lack of playing time.
When New York Yankees starting second baseman Starlin Castro went down with a hamstring injury on June 26, the negatives were clear. The organization was losing one of their best hitters, as Castro was sporting a .313 average, an OPS of .835 and a team-high 92 hits, eventually resulting in his fourth All-Star nod.
But not all was bad. Because of said injury, the Yankees were able to continue their highly-anticipated youth movement.
Like Luis Severino, Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Jordan Montgomery — amongst others — before him, Tyler Wade was the latest Baby Bomber to trade in his Triple-A digs for a pair of pinstripes.
Some believed Gleyber Torres — the organization’s top prospect — would’ve been the youngster to replace Castro if he didn’t receive Tommy John surgery just days prior. But with the way Wade was performing with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, others thought the drop off in talent wouldn’t be too steep.
Wade burst onto the Bronx stage during an impressive Spring Training. He slashed .357/.400/.452 in 25 games, with his efforts nearly being rewarded as Wade was almost named the Yankees Opening Day starting shortstop due to Didi Gregorius‘ shoulder injury. But because the front office viewed — and in many ways, still views — Wade as their version of Ben Zobrist, he started the season in Triple-A to hone his craft on defense.
And Wade did just that — and more.
He took the task of becoming a versatile defender in stride as RailRiders manager Al Pedrique played the 22-year-old at every position except first base and catcher. Wade’s glove wasn’t the only part of his game that was on display, as his bat, too, impressed.
Wade was arguably the best hitter in a lineup that also featured names like Torres, Clint Frazier, Dustin Fowler and other budding young talents. When the Yankees promoted Wade, he led his team in average (.313), on-base percentage (.390), hits (88), runs scored (59) and stolen bases (24).
The California native couldn’t have received his first chance at a better time.
Unfortunately, the Yankees and their fans have yet to see Wade’s minor league success translate to the next level.
Wade started the first four games of his Yankees career and had one double, one RBI, two walks and four runs scored to show for it. But once manager Joe Girardi enlisted a platoon with Ronald Torreyes, he’s struggled to do much of anything in the Bronx.
In 50 at-bats over 18 games, Wade has a poor triple slash of .120/.200/.200. He’s rarely had a chance to display his quickness on the basepaths. Most times, he looks lost against Major League pitching. And despite his defensive abilities, he’s spent 12 of his games at second base.
At this time, Wade looks overmatched — but it’s hard to put all the blame solely on his shoulders.
Since his first four game stretch, Wade has only played in consecutive contests on two separate occasions (July 4, 5, 7 and July 23 and 25). Before his start against the New York Mets on Monday, he was absent from the starting lineup for nine straight games.
On one hand, Torreyes has done everything in his power to remain in the Yankees lineup. He’s hitting .285 through 82 games and boasts a skill set that’s reminiscent of Wade’s.
Torreyes has certainly earned his spot in the lineup. But Girardi and the Yankees are doing Wade a disservice by keeping him on the bench for extended periods of time. Is he getting valuable information from veterans each time he steps foot in the clubhouse? Yes — and that does go a long way.
But nothing is better for your game than playing every day. If the team doesn’t believe he’s ready — and by the looks of things, he isn’t — he should be sent back down to Scranton where he can continue to develop into the player the organization envisions.
Both Jonathan Diaz and Donovan Solano are two players that are both in Triple-A and can play multiple positions. Most importantly, they’re MLB journeymen who aren’t a part of the Yankees’ future plans. Either one of Diaz or Solano would be better suited in the role until Castro returns.
There’s no denying that Wade will still be looked upon as an integral piece to future championship runs that are currently being forecasted.
It’s just not his time yet — and that’s okay.
The Yankees just have to realize that.