The New York Yankees have a young, talented infield prospect ready for the majors.
He’s a shortstop by trade, but New York has groomed him to be versatile. He likely won’t get to play his natural position. He’s tearing the cover off the ball, forcing the pinstriped brass to consider a promotion to the big leagues. That won’t happen just yet, but the Yankees have confirmed that this kid is next in line.
His name is Tyler Wade.
Oh, I’m sorry — did you think I was referring to Gleyber Torres?
Yankee fans have been clamoring for Torres’ arrival in the Bronx, but they will have to pump the brakes. He may be the No. 1 prospect in a farm system loaded with talent, but Torres will have to wait patiently, as will fans, for his call to the majors.
Right now, Wade is ahead of him in the pecking order.
That’s not opinion; it’s straight from the horse’s mouth. Earlier this week, Brian Cashman appeared on The Michael Kay Show. The host asked the general manager about a scenario in which Torres is brought up to play third, Chase Headley moves to first, and Chris Carter is removed from the equation.
Cashman gave a quick “no” when asked if he had thought about such a move. Furthermore, he voluntarily added he’s not ready to call up Torres at all.
“I’ll tell you right now, Tyler Wade has been the best productive infielder who’s capable of playing third base off that Scranton roster,” Cashman continued. “I think if we had to make a move, a necessary move to fix a problem on the infield side, Tyler Wade would be the first guy getting the call.”
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 16, 2017
Cashman’s assessment is no knock against Torres, who happens to be playing quite well since being promoted to Triple-A. As of Saturday, he is slashing .304/.404/.443 with six extra-base hits (two homers) and 16 RBIs in 22 games.
That’s the thing, though — Torres has played only 22 games at the highest minor league level… and he’s only 20 years old. He is still learning third base, along with second. There’s no reason to rush him.
That would be true even if Wade were not raking, but his hot hitting ensures that he is New York’s go-to reinforcement, not Torres.
Wade, who was in contention to replace an injured Didi Gregorius at the start of the season, has earned his spot in the promotional on-deck circle. The 22-year-old is hitting .317/.376/.456 for Scranton/Wikes-Barre. He has already tied his career-high mark in homers (five) in just 60 games. He also has 24 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.
On top of all that, Wade is more than just an infielder — he has experience at every position other than catcher, pitcher and first base. It is easy to see why he has drawn comparisons to Ben Zobrist.
At the same time, it is easy to see why Cashman would go to Wade first.
Torres is quite likely to be the Yankees’ long-term third baseman — starting as soon as this season, perhaps — but he still has some growing to do. Wade, meanwhile, has shown all the growth in the world, creating impressive numbers.
He too may have a bright future in New York. At the very least, he has the most immediate one.
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