Yankees: NYY Have Perfect Secret Weapon for New Extra Innings Rule
By Ryan Doyle
It’s official. Yankees speedster Tyler Wade is the perfect player for MLB’s new extra innings rule.
Tyler Wade’s speed could be the key to a handful of New York Yankees victories this season.
During the Yankees intrasquad game on Tuesday, Wade was placed on second base on multiple occasions to start off an inning as the team simulated the new extra innings rule.
Immediately, he showed that he will be the perfect weapon for the new rule. Wade quickly stole third and advanced on a throwing error to score a run before anyone could blink. That’s exactly how manager Aaron Boone would like to see things work out in extras once the regular season rolls around.
With Wade on the base paths, both the pitcher and catcher will need to pay close attention to him. While the extras rule seems fairly cut-and-dried, strategy-wise (bunt, sac fly, rinse and repeat), Wade’s speed could throw a wrench into things — the pitcher may lose focus on the batter, leading to walks or missed spots, and the catcher could rush a throw into left field, as we witnessed on Tuesday.
Utilizing Wade as the placed runner and replacing almost any Yankee shouldn’t be a problem, as hitters one through nine can drive in runs. If Aaron Judge made the last out in the inning prior, New York should expect to drive in a run, before he is even due up the next time around, especially with a speedster like Wade at second.
Wade’s versatility in the field provides even more reason to utilize him as the pinch-runner as soon as extras begin. He can play the corner outfield positions and all along the infield.
Let’s take fellow speeder Billy Hamilton for example. Hamilton is an equal threat on the base paths, and the fastest player in the sport, but he is solely an outfielder. His manager could potentially have to empty his bench to adjust defensive positioning. In the majority of situations, Boone won’t have that problem with Wade’s skillset.
Following Wade’s display on Tuesday, a number of Yankees pitchers including Jordan Montgomery and Adam Ottavino shared their displeasure with the new rule.
Boone placed Wade and other fast baserunners like prospect Estevan Florial at second base when New York’s relievers including Ottavino, Chad Green and Zack Britton were in the game, in an effort to help prepare them for the new rule. Clearly, having the best on the base paths behind you can’t hurt.
While New York’s hurlers may not like MLB’s new twist on the game, the Yankees should be in a great position to take advantage of it thanks to Wade’s unmatched speed and versatility. Finally, the Yankees have a perfect fit for the kid, who hasn’t completely gelled yet in a short big league career.