Tyler Wade has had a tumultuous season.
First came a stellar spring training campaign. One that won him a share of the New York Yankees’ Opening Day second base job with Neil Walker. But then he got off to a terrible slump, batting just .086 in 13 games, mixed in with a flu he picked up in Toronto that caused him to lose a noticeable amount of weight.
Wade finds himself sitting up at night wondering what could have been if things played out differently.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in my bed, like, just looking up thinking if I didn’t get sick what would have happened just because I lost so much weight, but I mean, it’s part of it and I think everything happens for a reason,” Wade said. “I came down here with the mindset of going back to the big leagues and I knew that wasn’t going to be easy. It’s a process, man. I’m glad I’m back and I’m ready to get out of here.”
With top prospect Gleyber Torres tearing the ball off for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees were forced to pull the trigger on April 22 and made the move. Torres was coming up and Wade was getting sent down.
But it didn’t stop there for Wade.
It wasn’t until June 5 that the 23-year-old brought his batting average over .240 for good. He started his 2018 Triple-A campaign in an 36-for-152 slump, which spanned over 37 games. Wade’s poor performance forced him to start over again. And it’s made him better for it.
“I was working through a lot of things,” Wade said. “I was basically doing off-season work during the middle of the season. That’s not easy to do, so I was sticking to the process and I just have to keep working every day.
“As a player you’re always making adjustments and it’s something I needed to do to get back to the big leagues. I’m just trying to get back there, work hard every day and keep my head down. That’s all I’m really worried about right now.”
After his rough start, Wade seems to be out of the woods.
Placed in the top of the order, Wade has become one of the catalysts for the RailRiders as of late. He’s batting .333 with a home run, a double, six walks, nine runs scored and three RBI in his last 10 games heading into Saturday night’s tilt in Rochester. Correspondingly, the RailRiders are 6-4 over that stretch.
“It’s reassuring starting to see stuff to fall because you’re starting to see results again, but I just have to stick to the process and keep working,” Wade said.
RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell has been around Wade a lot during the first-year skipper’s three seasons in the Yankees organization.
It’s encouraging to see Wade back to his old self and become more productive at the plate again. If anything, a change in attitude for the utility man could be the difference.
“We need him. We need him to bounce back,” Mitchell said said. “I think his attitude is better. I think he’s having more fun playing the game. You’re going to make outs, as soon as he realizes that — you’re going to make outs, sometimes you hit the ball hard you’re going to make outs. But I think his at-bats are getting better and better as we go along.
“He’s knowing the strike zone better. I thought that he got away from that a little bit from what I’ve seen from him before, but he’s back at it. If he gets on base we score.”
Now that he’s back on track, Wade needs to take a page out of the book of the player who replaced him in Torres. It’s time to push the envelope.
With his ability to play all three outfield positions and second, shortstop and third base, Wade could be a valuable asset in New York.
“(Yankees manager Aaron Boone) told me that when I first got sent down. So I know that was going to be my role again,” Wade said. “I’ve always said it’s like riding a bike and I feel like I can play anywhere right now.”
“He looks good in the outfield,” Mitchell added. “I would say first or catcher would not be a place to put him, but anywhere else he could play it. He can go wherever (the Yankees) want him. He’s athletic. He’s that athletic and that’s part of his value and versatility is huge for him.”
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle