Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Tyler Wade Is Correct - He Got A Raw Deal

Tyler Wade did everything the New York Yankees asked him to do this spring. It was mostly assumed that he was going to be a part of the Opening Day roster. He worked on his offense and posted an .845 OPS for the spring. He played five different positions. He outplayed DJ LeMahieu. He had a higher OPS than Miguel Andujar. And then with a week to go until the start of the season, the Yankees acquired Mike Tauchman, installed him on the 25-man roster and punted Tyler Wade.

Wade said he felt blindsided. In a rare blip on the usual happy Yankees' news front, he said the following:
“It kind of blindsided me,” Wade vented to reporters, according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. “I was just trying to get ready because our center fielder (Aaron) Hicks…I don’t know when he’s coming back, so I was just trying [to be] ready for whatever was thrown my way and then it happened.” I didn’t think it was a problem,” Wade told reporters, according to Ackert. “Just the way that I performed this spring, I did everything they asked me to do. I played well. I made the adjustments offensively. Now it’s my defense that’s not good enough.”
I could not agree more. It would be one thing if the replacement for Wade was a homegrown product that outperformed him. It would be another thing if the player brought in has shown glimmers of success as a MLB player. But neither are the case.

It is obvious that Tyler Wade has not yet shown that he can hit in the Majors. His .468 OPS in 133 MLB plate appearances has been insipid to say the least. But this spring showed an inkling that Wade was putting it together and would not be an automatic out. Heck, anytime he hits the ball on the ground he has a chance.

While it is true that Mike Tauchman has put up great numbers in the minors--far better than Tyler Wade to be honest--Tauchman has also not yet shown he can hit MLB pitching. In 69 MLB plate appearances, Tauchman has burned it up with a .468 OPS, the exact same number as Wade! The big difference is that Tauchman got to hit in Colorado so his OPS+ is even lower than Wade's.

Let's be clear here, neither has put up any kind of sample size that would tell us anything. Tauchman is older than Wade. Tauchman is not fast like Wade and so is not as valuable as a pinch runner. And Tauchman's defensive metrics in his short sample size are not exemplary. To also be clear, I have no faith that LeMahieu is going to offer the Yankees very much other than making sure that more valuable hitters spend some games on the bench when they should be in the field.

The Yankees gave LeMehieu a lot of money for some reason. Yes, his second base defense would be valuable if he was going to be the every day second baseman. But Gleyber Torres is there and is a much better player and there is no history of LeMehieu succeeding in a utility role. His spring numbers were not promising.

Tyler Wade got the rug pulled out from under him after having no reason of concern for all of the spring. His spot was taken on the roster by a guy who is not as versatile and who likewise has not proved he can hit MLB pitching. It bordered on cruelty how it all worked out and no one should blame him for speaking out. Wade got a raw deal and there is no other way to describe it.

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