Tyler Wade Has Quietly Become a Factor!
by Cary Greene
August 16, 2021
Tyler Wade has been the brunt of many blogger’s negative criticism over the past few years, even though he has consistently posted positive WAR seasons thanks to his versatility, strong glovework, excellent arm and blazing speed.
In the Minor Leagues Tyler Wade was always a very good contact hitter with excellent on-base skills. That Skill set is suddenly translating in a big way with the Yankees (and it just happens to coincide with Wade playing more regularly). Tyler Waded is suddenly an offensive force the likes of which have virtually guaranteed that he’ll play a prominent role as the Yankees indispensable utility player going forward.
Since July 30th, Wade has hit .550/.640/.700 with a gaudy 1.340 OPS. Only 5 of his 24 base hits during this time have gone for extra bases, but Tyler Wade is as red hot as a player can be right now and his season numbers now look mighty fine. Wade is now hitting .273 with an OBP of .347 on the season, which is a stat line that is very within himself based on his minor league track record.
Besides scorching left-handed pitching to the tune of a .324 average, Wade has become a lethal clutch hitter, batting .500 in high leverage situations and hitting .320 with men on base. All of a sudden, he’s exactly the type of left-handed contact bat the Yankees have been starved for over the past several seasons.
Wade will be a free agent in 2025 and he is proving to be a player the Yankees might absolutely have to retain. Who would have thought that he’d have this kind of turn around season? He’s become a bat that needs to be in the lineup and when he’s not there, the team isn’t quite as good. Imagine that!? Tyler Wade has gone from an often ridiculed player who stat-geeks loved to take out their arrogance (and ignorance) on, to an amazing utility guy who we can do nothing but admire.
In past seasons, Wade was hitting a lot of pop flies and weak liners but this season, according to the numbers, Wade is hitting a ton more ground ball singles, with a particular knack for slapping base hits up the middle. 60.3% of his batted balls are grounders, up from 35% last year and his fly ball numbers have gone down from 34.9% to 22.4% as well. This isn’t a new trick for Wade, he’s done this consistently in the past and was especially good at it in the minors.
What is new for Wade is that he’s trying not to pull the ball as much and instead, he’s going with pitches more, focusing on going up the middle and he’s not doing it with hard contact either. He’s placing medium hit balls on the ground and they’re finding holes, where defenders aren’t. Wade’s hard hit ball percentage is down significantly and now that he’s not trying to hit home runs, he’s beginning to find success by just taking the ball where it’s pitched and coming back through the box with it.
The eyeball test is obvious. Anyone who watches a lot of Yankee games has to have grown to like Wade a ton this year. Last season, Wade was trying to increase his launch angle and hit porch jobs to right field but the results of that sustained effort were pretty much ruining his career. This season and especially recently, he’s getting back to his old self and it’s a mighty-refreshing thing to see him do that.
In the past I’ve always defended what Wade had accomplished in the minor leagues but I was beginning to lose hope this season. Thankfully, he’s made some super adjustments that are helping him play to his strengths, which brings us to the point of this article.
If Wade can continue this surge and become a borderline .300 hitter, and a guy who happens to play all over the darn field, I believe Brian Cashman will look to protect Wade while the Yankees enjoy his remaining two and a half years of team control and then, possibly look to lock Wade in on a multi-year deal – given that Wade will be 27 next season and just coming into his prime. Wade would be 30 when he hits free agency.
It is taken him a long while, but it seems that Tyler Wade has finally arrived.