BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY- Tyler Wade’s versatility has lead to permanence on the roster of the New York Yankees. In the 2015-2017 regular season, Wade suited up to play five positions: second base, third base, shortstop, left field, and centerfield.
During the Yankees’ surprisingly deep run in the playoffs last year (which brought them within one win of playing in the World Series), Wade was recalled 3 times from the Yankees AAA affiliate in Scranton Wilkes-Barre between the end of July and mid-October. Wade told me the advantage of playing so many positions at the Major League level is that: “I think it just gives guys days off [to keep] their bodies fresh.” His flexibility was one of the keys down the stretch last year.
Wade’s versatility is, in 2018, beginning to pay dividends. As of today, a quick glance of the Yankees’ depth chart shows that Wade is the: starting second baseman, third-string shortstop, and third-string third baseman. Opening the door for Wade was Starlin Castro’s exit: he was traded to the Miami Marlins in a deal for the MLB’s reigning home run champion, Giancarlo Stanton. The deal sent immediate shockwaves throughout the MLB. Stanton joined Aaron Judge, the runner-up in the home run race, in the Yankees’ outfield. With a beaming grin, Wade told me that the trade was “very huge” and that “there’s going to be a lot of home runs hit in New York, [and he’s] excited about it”.
— Tyler Wade (@_tylerwade) February 2, 2018
Second base, according to some, was Wade’s spot to lose entering the 2018 season. What has he been working on in the off-season to win the positional battle? He told me: “It’s always been my goal. I [am] going to go into spring to win and to compete for a job. My mindset has been the same. I just gotta get to work.” Wade is known for his defensive prowess, and that is no exception in this 2018 spring training season. Through 56.1 innings at second base, Wade has not committed one, single error. That’s right, his fielding percentage is 1.000%.
Acknowledging that “there’s always room for improvement”, this spring, he is focused on “working on every part of [his] game: offensively [and] defensively”. That might also include base running. Already this spring, he has been caught stealing four times. In his prior three years in spring training (combined), he has only been thrown out twice. In the meantime, Wade is “trusting the process” to get him where he has worked so hard to be.
Growing up a Yankee fan and idolizing #2, Derek Jeter, Wade told me that taking the field for the Yankees for the first time “was dream come true”. He added: “You hear about all the history and all of the people that walked onto the field: Derek, Mo, Pettitte, It’s an honor”. As far as the 2018 Yankees, Wade said the goal is: “Win a world series”.
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