New York Yankees: What a Shortened Season Means for Bench Players

Miguel Andujar #41 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Miguel Andujar #41 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Wade #14 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

In his first two seasons in the majors, from 2017-2018, it seemed Tyler Wade was not going to pan out as a hitter, but more of a defensive substitution late in games or a pinch-runner with his stellar speed.

Compiling an average of .161 after 66 games over that two-year span made him mostly a waste at the plate, with other guys, understandably, getting the nod over him.

But last season we saw Wade improve in all facets of his game, making him more trustworthy in the field as well as at the plate for then second-year manager Aaron Boone.

While his .245 batting average last season in a career-high 43 games is not overly impressive, it is a major step forward in his development. And while his output of two home runs and 11 RBI is nothing to get too excited over, the ability to set career highs in On-Base Percentage (.330), Slugging Percentage (.362) and On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage (.692), to go along with one lone error in 45 games at a variety of positions, makes this player a necessity.

Especially on a team where injuries seem to be the norm.

And since he has been improving year after year in The Show, this season could have and should have seen the trend continue.

Taking his stats over 43 games last season, featuring solid play, we can assume he would see around the same this season.

Only playing in 27.78 percent of games last year, a 60-game season could mean Wade only appears in about 17 games this season.

We have seen over his short three-year career that the more opportunities Wade gets, the better he performs, so a shortened season definitely limits his potential.

Being able to play multiple positions would give Wade the edge. The problem is this Yankee team has a lot of other options that may provide higher offensive outputs. For example, Mike Tauchman in the outfield, or Miguel Andujar if Gio Urshela is awarded the starting gig at third. And starting second baseman D.J. LeMahieu seems to be the healthiest out of the team’s core group, but even he can slot in at third or first, providing Gold Glove fielding without seeing his batting average take a hit.

According to Baseball-Reference’s 2020 Simulated Stats through June 22nd, the 25-year-old has appeared in 35 games so far, posting a .303 batting average, with an impressive OPS of .862, adding one home run and six RBI to go along with it.

Based on his attitude on the bench and when playing, Wade is a very easy guy to root for, and I was expecting to see a more polished Wade this season.