Yankees: Evaluating Tyler Wade’s role for 2020 and beyond
By Derek McAdam
Tyler Wade’s future with the Yankees will be decided now
The 2019 Yankee season came with a slogan better known as the “Next Man Up” since many Triple-A players were called up to the big leagues due to injuries. Tyler Wade was among those players and finally saw a surge in production. How does this affect his future role?
Going into the 2019 season, Wade was one of those players who produced well in the minors but could not make the transition to the majors. In 66 career Major League games, he found himself hitting an abysmal .161 with only 20 hits. The only thing that seemed to keep him on the Yankees roster was his speed and being a utility fielder.
But the 2019 season would be different for Wade. Not only would he double his career MLB hit total to 43, but he managed to hit .245 on the season to bring his career batting average to .197, a raise of .36.
The Yankees rewarded the former fourth-round pick in the 2013 Draft with a spot on the active roster to begin the 2020 season, indicating that Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone both believe that he can be a key contributor to the team.
Wade was the super-utility player for the Yankees in 2019. He played six different positions on the field, including all three outfield spots. The only positions he did not play at were first base, catcher, and pitcher. D.J. LeMahieu may be seen as the utility infielder, whereas Wade is seen as the utility defender. His ability to command many different positions is a big reason why Boone is rewarding the 25-year-old.
One big plus to Wade is that he is a left-handed at-bat. Although he may not have the “pop” that Aaron Hicks and Mike Ford have, Wade may be the next Brett Gardner in what he can bring offensively. Wade is the ultimate hustler, just like Gardner, and may be able to see himself leading off if the Yankees decide to not bring back LeMahieu. Even if he is not leading off, he can be a productive eight or nine hitter that can get into scoring position for the leadoff man to try to score.
As long as Wade does not show a major decline in the 2020 season, he will have several years left in pinstripes. It is hard to come by utility fielders, but for a player to play six positions is ever harder to come by. Wade is a special player that the Yankees are not willing to just give up on. The patience might finally be paying off.