2. Tyler Wade
Again, it comes down to the fundamentals. Wade’s speed is always extremely pleasant. Wade has been able to put bat on ball more often than we expected this year.
But Wade’s not actually “versatile” if he can’t play the most fundamentally-sound second base you’ve ever seen. On Tuesday night in the Bronx, Jonathan Loaisiga started his eighth inning with a single and a double, holding a one-run lead. Difficult to stomach, but it happens.
He then recorded a strikeout looking, then induced back-to-back dribblers to second base, where a newly-inserted Wade was stationed. An out wasn’t recorded on either play, and four runs scored.
Wade ranged up the middle to corral the first grounder, then threw low and wide to DJ LeMahieu. Wade got the second grounder easily, but rather than turn a double play (or attempt one), he double clutched, threw home, and put nary a positive on the board. If he makes the first play, this is a 3-3 game for LeMahieu’s homer in the bottom of the eighth. If he makes the second, it’s a likely 5-4 Yankees win.
This isn’t a reactionary dismissal of Wade; there’s a large body of work here. He’s a speedy singles hitter at his absolute peak, and he’s in fact been a better center fielder than second baseman through much of this season. It’s been odd, and the Yankees can do better.
Park and the powerful Chris Gittens instead of Odor and Wade, and we do it tomorrow. If Odor’s going to exclusively play second base without hitting, and if Wade’s versatility is limited to standing in place and not to throwing, then the Yankees should give Park a chance and promote the more dangerous bat in Gittens with the Stanton-esque exit velocities.