It’s been a complete 180-degree turn from New York Yankees infielder Tyler Wade this spring compared to his 30-game regular-season stint during the 2017 season.
Upon making his MLB debut in June, the 23-year-old often looked overpowered at the plate going 9-for-58, good for a .155 batting average. His fielding wasn’t exactly sterling either as he made three errors in just 50 chances at second base, shortstop and the outfield.
Heading into the 2018 season, Wade was somewhat of an afterthought to earn serious playing time in New York’s infield as all eyes were fixated upon youngsters Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, two prospects considered the to be the cornerstones of the team’s future.
Wade’s spot on the roster came under even more of a siege after the Yankees went out and acquired Brandon Drury from the Arizona Diamondbacks to play third before signing Neil Walker to take over at second.
Add Ronald Torreyes to the mix and there were plenty of names that Wade had to try and shine through to make an impact this spring.
But the switch-hitter did exactly that this spring, showing a newfound resolve at the plate. In 38 at-bats, he batted .316 with a pair of RBI, including a double and triple on Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers.
His glove also played a large part in him making the big-league club, making a number of highlight-reel plays in the field.
It didn’t go unnoticed by new Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
“I think there’s something impactful he seems to do every day,” Boone said (h/t Brendan Kuty of NJ.com). “It’s kind of a different dynamic we have because he’s so athletic, the speed, the range he has in the field. He’s just done a handful of things this spring. It seems like, every day he’s in, there’s something he’s done that’s been special that’s impacted the game.”
While Torres struggled to find his footing this spring, Andujar faded after a hot start as both were optioned to triple-A to continue their development, making it all but guaranteed that Wade was going to get a roster spot.
The extent was revealed by new Yankees manager Aaron Boone, who said that he will platoon at second base with Walker at the start of the season.
Walker is a left-hander who doesn’t necessarily struggle mightily against southpaw pitchers with a .264 career batting average. But it is expected for Wade to see a bulk of his starts at second come against lefties. Should his hot bat carry into the regular season, he could also see time at third base.
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