BBB 2017 Top Prospect Countdown #17: Tyler Wade

Entering his fifth season in the Yankees organization after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Yankees, Tyler Wade comes into the BBB’s top prospect rankings at #17. Admittedly, (and unfortunately), Wade may not be ranked high enough on this list. Playing this entire season at age 22, Wade already has MLB-ready level tools in the field, and after putting on 10 pounds in upper-body muscle mass this offseason, he could continue climbing this list with a strong season. If Wade’s bat can catch up to his plus tools in the field and his plus speed tool, you can look for this versatile prospect to take a major leap in our rankings, and possibly make a push for the big leagues toward the end of 2017.
Photo Credit: Tomasso de Rosa

Breakdown
Wade spent the entire 2016 season with the Yankees Double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder. Over the season, due to the Yankees immense talented shortstop depth in the minors, Wade saw 36 starts at second base, and 91 at shortstop. As a player who is working on becoming a more versatile option as that may be his destined role, Wade has also willingly begun playing outfield, seeing time at both left and center field.

Though Wade has begun working on polishing his game, he is still waiting for his bat to catch up with his mostly MLB-ready toolset. Wade hit to a .259/.352/.349 slash line last year, posting an unimpressive batting average and slugging percentage, but an encouraging on base percentage. With his ability to get on base, if Wade can string more hits together in 2017, he could become an even higher touted prospect than he already is.

After wrapping up his season in AA, Wade turned to the Arizona fall league which is where he made his appearances in the outfield. Unfortunately, Wade did not perform particularly well hitting just .220 in 14 games. His stat lines in the minors have not done him justice, and fans should look to this year being his breakout season.


Projection
Wade may be destined to becoming that super-utility man that teams take value in, but that is a role he seems at peace with. Wade has been adamant in his comments that his number one objective is to help the New York Yankees win a championship by any means possible, and in any role. With Gleyber Torres and Jorge Mateo shining bright as young prospects ahead of him, along with Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro already manning the middle infield in the majors, it is unclear if Wade will become a full-time middle infielder at the Major League level. It is also worth noting that the Yankees will also be testing Mateo in the outfield due to his off the charts speed. Still, if Wade could evolve into the utility role, Wade could become a very successful player given his skill set, and that's something Brian Cashman has taken notice of.

“There is no question he will play in the big leagues,” Cashman said of the 22-year-old Wade, a fourth-round pick in 2013 out of high school in Murrieta, Calif.

Power is one element to Wade’s game that is just not there yet, but after adding 10 pounds of upper-body muscle mass this offseason, he is making a point to hit to the gaps at an increased frequency this season. After all, Wade hit just five homers and 16 doubles in 133 Double-A games last season, but as a guy who projects to be a 10-15 home run guy, his added weight should play to his advantage.


Look for Wade to likely start the season in Triple-A as making the big league roster out of spring training isn’t very likely for the young prospect. There’s an outside chance Wade begins the year in Trenton, but after finishing 2015 there and playing all of 2016 with the Thunder, I’d expect him to head to Triple-A after Spring Training. In Scranton, we should look for Wade to see increased time at positions other than shortstop as the Yankees continue molding him into a versatile role. And at the end of the day, Wade should shoot himself into our top 15 by midseason with a strong first half that I expect him to have. When he translates his smooth left-handed swing into on-field production, he will continue rising on prospect boards, and will continue pushing his way to the Bronx within the next season or two.

Article by: Chad Raines

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