INFs Thairo Estrada and Tyler Wade
Thairo Estrada and Tyler Wade could very well be competing head to head with each other for a spot on the Opening Day roster. It’s hard to imagine the Yankees starting the season with both of them on the roster as utility infielders especially with Miguel Andujar transitioning to a similar role as well.
Estrada and Wade are terrific defenders at both middle infield positions and one of them will be needed on the roster to provide insurance behind Gleyber Torres at shortstop. Between the two, Estrada looks like he has more upside offensively based on his performance last season, but Wade is the better baserunner and the fastest man on the Yankees 40-man roster.
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The 23-year-old Estrada also made his major league debut last April because of all the injuries the Yankees suffered and he really played well in his first of five stints with the club in 2020. He hit a combined .280 with 3 HR, 11 RBI and a .520 SLG% in 50 combined at-bats in April and May. He only had 14 at-bats after the All-Star break and hit .143, but that didn’t take away from the strong first impression he made early in the season.
After looking totally overmatched in limited stints with the Yanks in 2017 and 2018 (combined .161 BA) Wade hit .245 last season with 2 HR and 16 RBI in 94 at-bats. He also stole seven bases without getting caught.
Wade (25) has more experience than Estrada does and I’d give him the slight edge defensively at shortstop as well. He also played well in left field in spurts last season, but that doesn’t mean he has any sort of edge entering camp. Whoever plays betters this spring deserves to make the Opening Day roster.
That being said, either one of them would be solid additions to the Yankees bench because of their speed and versatility.