Scouting Yankees Prospect #24: Tyler Wade

The Yankees selected shortstop Tyler Wade in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Murrieta Valley High School in California. Tabbed as an athletic kid with the tools to stick at shortstop prior to his selection, he has proven exactly that through his first two professional seasons.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Tyler Wade
Position: Shortstop
DOB: November 23, 1994
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

He followed up his solid debut season in 2013 that saw him hit .309 for the Gulf Coast League Yankees1 team with ten doubles, eleven stolen bases, 32 walks, and 37 runs scored in just 46 games played with another solid performance in the long-season leagues last year, hitting .272 with 24 doubles, drawing 57 walks, and stealing 22 bases for the Charleston RiverDogs.

"It went pretty well," Wade said of his first full season last year. "It was my first season in full-season so it was kind of like a whole learning experience for me. I was just going day by day. Overall though I thought it went pretty well."

Merely 19 years old in his first Spring Training camp last year, the prevailing thought at the time was he might need a little more seasoning in the short-season leagues but he reported to camp a full twenty pounds heavier and seemed like a man on a mission.

He turned heads with his steady play and his reluctance to get away from his game, one that was predicated more on good defense, getting on base, and doing all of the small things that help a baseball team win.

"On the field being patient and not getting away from my game plan, those are things I learned," he said. "I wanted to stay away from the pitchers' game plan. I wanted to stay middle, go gap to gap, and kind of work the pitcher because with me being at the top of the lineup I wanted to see as many pitches as possible to help the rest of our lineup."

That has been the main thing that has stood out with Wade so early in his career -- he knows his own limitations, he takes what the opposition gives him, doesn't try to do more than he's capable of, and has an uncanny knack for slowing the game down.

"I had a lot of support from my coaches. They told me to just be myself. I think the big thing for me is I'd have a little time to myself and I'd tell myself just to slow the game down and play the game how it should be.

"If you speed it up and press too hard bad things are going to happen. You have to play relaxed and play the game that you know."

What he also knew heading into his first full season was that he needed to get stronger. He put on a lot of good weight last offseason not in an effort to hit for more power necessarily but to be able to handle the daily grind of playing each day, and in hindsight he says that plan could not have gone any better.

"I think it was extremely important because I played everyday and all of that wear and tear on my body, that extra work I put in the offseason last year really paid off for me," he said proudly.

"I gained another seven pounds this offseason. I feel good and I'm just going to continue working hard because there's no better feeling than coming into Spring [Training] being in great shape and seeing all of that hard work in the offseason going on to the baseball field."

Not one to be confused with a power hitter, Wade realizes he will most likely never be one. That's not his game though but he still feels he can be an impact player on the diamond despite not hitting a ton of home runs.

"I think so," he opined. "Since I play an up the middle position I am the leader on the field and I try to show that quality. I'm not a big power hitter but I'm definitely the guy will play my heart out and hit the ball gap to gap, and get on base for the rest of the team. But I'll run into some [home runs] here and there."

He he just one home run last season but there has been a noticeable difference in his ability to impact the baseball since he was first drafted. Still, rather than focus on becoming more of a power hitter he would much rather fine-tune the other areas of his game and focus on the many other positives he possesses.

"There's always room for improvement in every part of your game but I really just want to be consistent with everything; my swing, my defense. The power will come with just age and maturity but I'm not too worried about that.

"Just clean up my swing path, that was one thing I worked on down during Instructs. Later in the season last year I got away from my actual swing so I want to clean that up and stay short to the ball, and not try to do too much at the plate."

Possessing great makeup and extremely coachable, Wade also realizes his development as a player is a process. He wants to take the various things learned each year with him into the next season and he believes that simple approach will take him where he wants to get.

"Being patient. At the beginning of last season I was really antsy and not really patient at all. Towards the end of the year I saw more pitches and picked up on more tendencies, and that's definitely things I can take into this season.

"I always strive to be the best that I can. I'm just going to keep working my butt off and see where it takes me," he concluded.














2014 Charleston .272 507 24 1 51 77 22 57 118 .350 .349
2013 Staten Island .077 13 0 0 1 0 0 2 4 .200 .077
2013 GCL Yankees1 .309 162 10 0 12 37 11 32 42 .429 .370

Batting and Power. Some critics look at his lack of home runs and come away with the impression that Wade is merely a slap hitter and it couldn't be further from the truth. The fact is he can actually sting the ball with regularity. While not too many of them are going to find their way over the fence, especially early in his development, he is strong enough to be a high doubles hitter. And when you combine that with his advanced plate patience and pitch recognition, a quick and compact swing, and his gap to gap approach, the whole combination spells consistent hitter someday. He is pretty strong too with a projectable frame and it's not beyond the realm of possibility that he could be a low double-digit home run threat when it's all said and done either.

Base Running and Speed. Wade is an above average, borderline plus runner, but one who is still learning the nuances of stealing bases. He has a quick first burst jump and as he continues to learn to read pitchers' moves better he will certainly be capable of stealing 30-plus bases in a season. He has impact running abilities.

Defense. Just like his running game, Wade is more above average than plus. He has above average range, soft hands, above average arm strength, and an innate feel for the shortstop position. He has also played some second base too and he has shown above average potential there as well. He can be a premium defender at either position.

Projection. With above average speed, above average defense at two different positions, above average patience and pitch recognition, great intangibles including leadership skills, and a consistent bat, Wade already safely projects as a future big league reserve infielder at minimum. However, it's his consistent play on both sides of the ball that gets lost as the all-important sixth tool so even though the power grades out as below average right now he still has some realistic long-term big league starting potential. He is pretty strong too for a wiry guy and there's some projection to his frame as well, leading some scouts to believe there could be some long-term average [at best] power potential if things break right. He will need to continue to get stronger but there's a Rafael Furcal/Brian Roberts like hybrid ceiling to his game.

ETA. 2017. Wade has proven he's ready for the high-A level and should start the 2015 campaign with the Tampa Yankees. He appears to be set for a one level per year track in his ascension towards the big leagues.

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