Twenty-two year old shortstop prospect for the New York Yankees Tyler Wade is starting to make a name for himself as a top of the order hitter for the Triple-A Scranton RailRiders. A former 4th round draft pick by the Yankees in 2013, he has increased his stock as a prospect progressively the past few seasons by not only performing but by increasing his positional flexibility as well.
Through the RailRiders first 38 games this season, Wade is one of the top leaders in batting average at .308 and first in both stolen bases  and runs scored .
“I feel great, I feel like my work’s been good, I feel like I’m more prepared,” Wade said. “I’m moving around a lot, which I love, so it’s been fun.”
Wade emphasized his focus on preparation last year for the Double-A Trenton Thunder when he batted .259 with a .352 on base percentage. Speed being a key weapon in his repertoire, he stole 50 bases from 2015-2016, and has already has 12 stolen bases this season at the Triple-A level.
“Making sure my work is consistent and making sure I’m prepared for each and every game,” Wade said, "that’s the biggest thing for me, being prepared.”
Wade spent the offseason focusing on his same routines and workouts but felt the best way to bulk up was through his eating choices.
“Nothing really changed workout-wise,” Wade confessed. “I just really kind of changed the way I ate and put on like 15 pounds just through my diet honestly.”
Wade played 29 games for the Trenton Thunder in 2015 and showed some flashes, but in 2016 for the Thunder it was a big year for his experience and growth as he makes his way through the minor league process.
“I learned a lot [last year], all through my coaches, guys I played with, the older guys kind of taught me a lot,” Wade said. “I think it’s translated pretty well to this year and I'm just looking forward to keep working and learning.”
Manager Al Pedrique has been impressed with the impact Wade has brought to the RailRiders this season and sees no signs of slowing down from his starting shortstop.
“This is a good kid that loves to play the game," Pedrique said. "He’s got a lot of passion, lot of energy, he’s a hard worker. “I love his work ethic, comes to the park early every day, goes in the cage and does his routine with the hitting coach, and then we go out in the field. His preparation for the game at a daily basis is very solid.”
Unlike Pedrique, RailRiders hitting coach P.J. Pillitere has had the luxury of working with Wade for a consecutive season. Day in and day out he works and communicates with Wade constantly on how to better his talent and get him ready to perform in the upcoming game.
“Yeah [Wade]’s made a big jump in my opinion," Pillitere said. "Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been impressed with [Wade] and his natural ability and the way he goes about playing the game, he plays insanely hard every day.
“[However] the adjustments he’s made, physically being stronger, mentally being stronger, it’s translated so nice. It’s been really fun to sit back and kind of watch him evolve into the player he’s becoming right now.”
As a lefty in the top of the order and as a leadoff hitter, Wade molds similar to the lefty batters for the New York Yankees such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. All three players deliver the same attack in the batter’s box along with their terrific speed on the base paths.
“Yeah for sure, they are very good hitters throughout their whole career,” Wade said. “They are great guys to watch and emulate, and yeah they are just always great guys to watch.”
Shortstop being a primary position for Wade, he also is able to fill-in anywhere else in the infield and outfield positions. Combining that with all the aspects of his game, Wade makes for possibly a great utility guy down the road for the New York Yankees.
“I think [Wade]’s extremely valuable, I mean the fact he plays multiple positions, he can play anywhere in the infield, he can anywhere in the outfield,” Pillitere said. “Mechanically he doesn’t have a lot of stuff going on, so he can handle playing one day, not playing for three or four days, and pick up right where he left off.”
From May 9-15 in a seven-game stretch Wade went on hitting tear producing 14 hits in 33 plate-appearances (.424) to bring his season average up to .326. He also hit his only two home runs of the season in that stretch, and spiked his slugging percentage up to .457.
“For me, I like to see him stay aggressive, I know sometimes as a leadoff hitter you want a guy who gets on base and take the walk, but right now I rather see him being aggressive and going after fastballs,” Pedrique stated. “Personally I don’t want him to think when he’s at a 2-0 count he’s got to take a pitch, that’s something he will learn the more he plays the game.”
As Wade climbs up the prospect rankings in the Yankees organization, all he can do is maintain and elevate his level of play as he awaits his golden opportunity at the big league level, an idea that doesn't seem so far-fetched now that is having so much success at the Triple-A level.
“I think my game will take care of itself. Right now I just got to worry about where I am right now. When the time comes, we’ll see what happens," Wade concluded.