Yankees: Tyler Wade picked the perfect time to arrive

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 03: Tyler Wade /

Yankees infielder Tyler Wade refuses to be silenced. Entering his second big league season, many see Wade as just a utility player. The thing is, that’s not good enough for the 23-year-old — and nor should it be.

I love a good underdog story; Rocky, Rudy and Wade. Yeah, that’s right, because on more than one occasion you’ve probably read or been told by some “talent evaluator” that Tyler Wade of the Yankees is better suited as an occasional utility player rather than an everyday starter.

To that I say, watch him in-person for yourself. Because I guarantee you’ll see all the intangibles of a young player that is primed for a breakout campaign. Electric speed, silky smooth hands, a plus throwing arm and increasing on-base ability.

Of course, someone will try to splash water on my fire for Wade because it’s only Spring Training and a .310 batting average in 14 games means nothing to a majority of fans.

However, here’s my logic: If Wade were underperforming the way he did in his brief 30-game showing in the bigs in 2017, do you think he’d have any chance to win the second base job?

The answer is NO.

On Thursday, in the Yankees’ 9-5 win over the Pirates, Wade continued to impress manager Aaron Boone. The Southern California native first showed his “elite range” in the third inning, venturing a long way to his left to make a diving stop on a Colin Moran hard-hit ball. Wade quickly popped up from his belly and threw to first base for the out.

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Just one inning later, Josh Harrison laced a would-be two-run single up the middle. Wade sprinted behind the second base bag, backhanded a tough in-between hopper and threw to first to end the rally.

At the dish, Wade may have gone 0-for-1, but it’s the way he did so that continued to spark possibility of his name in the opening day lineup.

In his second at-bat of the day, Pirates’ closer Felipe Rivero worked Wade high and tight with a 100 mph fastball. Not for the squeamish, Wade settled himself in the box, eventually working the walk (he’d have two on the day).

Following the Yankee win, Aaron Boone sang the praises of Wade to Mike Mazzeo of the NY Daily News.

"“Another one of those days where he just opens your eyes with the dynamic he brings,” manager Aaron Boone said.“He’s a better player than I thought,” Aaron Boone said of Wade. “And I came in with some expectations, and our organization thinks very highly of him. But it seems like almost on a daily basis he does something with his athleticism or instinct that I think has been impressive.”"

The thing is a lot of factors needed to come into play this late into Spring Training for Tyler Wade to arguably be in the lead for opening day duties.

If top prospect Gleyber Torres wasn’t rusty in his first action since last June’s Tommy John surgery, would Wade have gotten a fair shake to beat him out? If Miguel Andujar didn’t cool off considerably after hitting five home runs during the first week and a half of camp, would the Yankees be considering Brandon Drury starting at the hot corner instead?

And even after the signing of 10-year veteran Neil Walker, why is it that he’s starting at first base on Friday against the Astors rather than his customary second?

The answer to all the above questions is that Tyler Wade has been exceptional. He took the bull by the horns when the opportunity presented itself and hadn’t looked back since. Not even a potentially devastating wrist injust has slowed down the second coming of Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford (yeah, tell them Mike said that).

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How long Wade keeps hold of the position is up to the duration in which he produces. But you shouldn’t be surprised if he refuses to recuse himself anytime soon.