Tyler Wade will be in the Bronx with the New York Yankees on Opening Day, but the clock could be ticking on his time with the organization.
We’ve said it many times before and we’ll say it again: Wade’s been grandfathered onto this current Yankees roster solely because he can play a serviceable middle infield. That’s it.
He’s far from a Gold Glover. He cannot hit. He’s made questionable defensive and baserunning gaffes in recent years. By all accounts, there’s little reason for him to be a consistent major league player.
But he has been. For some odd reasons the Yankees have opted against upgrading and will go with Wade in a bench role for the third straight year. But could all of that change after former first-round pick Kyle Holder was returned to the Bombers?
Holder was acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies in the Rule 5 Draft in December and was then traded to the Cincinnati Reds in January.
He appeared in spring training with Cincy, but was returned to the Yankees after he didn’t earn a spot on the Reds’ 40-man roster, giving the Bombers a nice little surprise this week ahead of camp breaking.
Will Kyle Holder have a role with the Yankees…instead of Tyler Wade?
So how can this change things? For starters, Holder has a slick glove. He’s primarily a shortstop but has gotten a decent amount of time at second and third base in the minors, having reached as high as Double-A Trenton. He’s now at the Yankees’ alternate site, so any slip-ups from Wade could open up a spot on the bench.
Because at this point, the Yankees would be smart to try out another middle infield bat since Wade is hitting .190 with a .575 OPS in his 161 career games. Holder’s bat isn’t much different from Wade’s, but Wade has yet to show any progression at the MLB level.
Here are their minor league stats side by side:
- Wade – .274/.351/.370 (.721 OPS) with 426 runs scored, 24 home runs, 218 RBI, 143 stolen bases and 589 strikeouts across seven seasons (694 games)
- Holder – .264/.317/.350 (.667 OPS) with 170 runs scored, 17 home runs, 136 RBI, 26 stolen bases and 235 strikeouts across five seasons (408 games)
Not much of a difference, but remember, Holder has played in only 144 games above High-A and has yet to reach Triple-A. He had his best hitting season with the Trenton Thunder in 2019, so there’s been progression of sorts. And in 2021, he arguably had a better spring training than Wade.
Let’s take a look at that, too:
- Wade – .220/.250/.317 (.567 OPS) with two runs scored, two RBI two walks, two stolen bases and 14 strikeouts in 15 games (41 at-bats)
- Holder – .219/.359/.292 (.551 OPS) with two runs scored, two RBI, seven walks and 10 strikeouts in 21 games (32 at-bats)
Neither blow you away, but you have to think now that Holder is back the Yankees might want to see what he’s capable of it Wade’s non-existent offense continues to take centerstage. If Holder’s putting up similar stats with less experience, then why not? At least he walks!
Last year, the two put up similarly bad offensive numbers during spring training and summer camp, but with room to grow, perhaps Holder could be called upon in hopes of making an impression if the Yankees want to try something different.