One can’t meet a nicer guy than Yankees shortstop Tyler Wade, our No. 13 prospect.
A player who is intelligent, articulate and a has lot of ability. The native of Murrieta, Calif., a fourth-round pick in the Yankees; productive 2013 draft who just turned 21 last Nov. 23, simply did not have a good season in 2015.
Yes, he got some excited by hitting .280 (103-for-368) in 98 games in the Florida State League. Some questioned why he was not promoted to Double-A Trenton right after the All-Star Break.
The reason was Double-A Trenton’s shortstop duties were being handled by the quite capable Ali Castillo at the time, and Wade, having played well defensively the previous season at Charleston, scuffled in the field with 28 errors in starts at shortstop and second base.
“I was pressing and trying to make plays I really couldn’t,’’ said the personable Wade when he arrived in the Trenton clubhouse. “I made up my mind to relax here and simply do what I can do, adjust to the speed of the game.’’
Wade scuffled some more, making seven more errors in 28 starts with the Thunder and batting just .204 (23-for-113). A stint with Surprise in the Arizona Fall League did not go much better, as he made four errors at second base – none at shortstop in four starts – and hit just .220 (9-for-41).
So Wade finds himself in something of a tough spot heading into 2016. He will likely start the year as the Trenton shortstop and slide over to second base for a time. The Yankees system is loaded at shortstop, with No. 2 prospect Jorge Mateo, with game-breaking skills, likely to arrive in the Garden State after the All-Star Break.
“I can only try to do the best I can where I’m at,’’ said Wade.
That is true, and his future may indeed be at second base.
It is unfair to judge Wade on a few weeks on Double-A. As far as the speed of the game is concerned, the jump from Class-A to Double-A is the toughest in the minors.
Wade looked overmatched in the Eastern League last season, but it was also the first taste of that level and he admits he was pressing.
Mechanically, he is as sound as any shortstop prospect the Yankees have. He uses his range well, has a quick, accurate release. Things just seemed to go awry in 2015.
Wade gets a pass on that, and a chance to re-establish himself in 2016. He knows what is at stake and will likely show his ability to a higher degree knowing what the Eastern League is all about.