Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro has landed on the DL after straining his hamstring last night. In a parallel universe, a parallel me is writing this article about Gleyber Torres, whom KATOH+ regarded as the No. 2 prospect in baseball behind Vlad Guerrero Jr. But since Torres’ season recently came to an end, the call-up goes to Tyler Wade, who is an interesting prospect in his own right.
A fifth-round pick out of high school in 2013, Wade put himself on the prospect map when he slashed .280/.343/.353 as a 20-year-old shortstop in High-A. He built upon that with a solid campaign in 2016 and hit an excellent .313/.390/.445 this year. He’s been especially hot of late, slashing .366/.455/.505 with 11 steals over his last 25 games. Wade hasn’t hit for a ton of power in the minors — his career ISO is just .085, though it ticked up to .132 this year — but he does just about everything else offensively, including making contact, drawing walks and stealing bases.
Wade has played shortstop, second base, third base and all three outfield spots this year. However, most of his reps have come at short. He hasn’t graded out well at the position by Clay Davenport’s numbers, but given how the defensive spectrum works, it stands to reason that he’d be fine at second base. The fact that he’s remained at shortstop all the way through Triple-A is telling.
KATOH is a Wade fan, projecting him for 6.7 WAR over his first six seasons by stats-only KATOH and 5.8 WAR by KATOH+, which incorporates his prospect ranking. Those marks place him 38th and 52nd, respectively, among prospects.
To put some faces to Wade’s statistical profile, let’s generate some statistical comps. I calculated a Mahalanobis distance between Wade’s Triple-A performance and every season since 1991. In the table below, you’ll find the 10 most similar seasons, ranked from most to least similar. The WAR totals refer to each player’s first six seasons in the major leagues. A lower “Mah Dist” reading indicates a closer comp.
Please note that the Mahalanobis analysis is separate from KATOH. KATOH relies on macro-level trends, rather than comps. The fates of a few statistically similar players shouldn’t be used to draw sweeping conclusions about a prospect’s future. For this reason, I recommend using a player’s KATOH forecast to assess his future potential. The comps give us some interesting names that sometimes feel spot-on, but they’re mostly just there for fun.
|Rank||Name||Mah Dist||KATOH+ Proj. WAR||Actual WAR|
Wade isn’t the sexiest prospect out there. His has little power to speak of and he doesn’t stand out in any other area — offensively or defensively. But taken altogether, his skills make for a promising package. His ability to get on base is encouraging, especially coming from a speedy middle infielder who has been substantially younger than his competition. The 22-year-old should receive regular at-bats for the time being, and my math suggests he has a bright future ahead of him.