With many New York Yankees prospects experiencing success in the majors, will Dermis Garcia follow in their footsteps or ultimately become a bust?
Prior to this year, the New York Yankees were hit with spending restrictions on the last two international prospect classes. In 2014, they went on a spending spree in which they spent over $17 million. A good portion of that money was spent on the top prospect of that international prospect class.
That prospect was Dermis Garcia, who signed for $3 million as a 16-year-old. The Yankees had high hopes for him and so far, there have been mixed results.
Garcia currently plays third base where the Yankees have a lack of talent in the farm system. Outside of Miguel Andujar, it is a barren position. Garcia can become a very good player. However, there are many concerns regarding his game despite his very high ceiling.
The tool that jumps out for Dermis Garcia is his power, which is known by anyone who follows him closely. He ranked second in the Rookie-level Appalachian League with 13 homers last year. In addition to that, he has 15 home runs this year between his time with the Pulaski Yankees and the Charleston Riverdogs.
The home runs are consistent but everyone expected his power to play well in games. The big part of his game that people need to pay attention to more are his strikeouts, walks, and defense. These are three very important things that will likely determine if Garcia becomes a star or an average player at best.
Like many power hitters into today’s game, Garcia has a high strikeout rate. In 2016, Garcia had a 36 percent strikeout rate in which he struck out 79 times in 59 games. It was clearly a part of his game that needed improvement and in 2017, it actually has improved. His strikeout rate in 2017 is 29 percent, which is very encouraging to see. Strikeouts are inevitable in the games of power hitters but if he can lower that percentage to about 25 percent, the Yankees will absolutely thrilled.
However, striking out 30 percent of the time wouldn’t necessarily mean he can’t succeed. Aaron Judge currently has a 39 percent strikeout rate and Miguel Sano has a 41 percent strikeout rate. Both were All-Stars this year, proving that high strikeout rates have become the normality.
Another important component for a power hitter like Garcia is his ability to draw walks. Walk rates and strikeout rates are typically intertwined. When a player is walking a lot, it often means the player is patient at the plate and has a good sense of the strike zone. This will often lead to double strikeout totals. Garcia currently has 36 walks in 57 games. This is a very good walk rate and it shows that he is maturing at the plate.
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Garcia was signed as a shortstop but has played the majority of his games at third base since coming stateside. However, many scouts agree that first base may be the best position for him, barring any sudden improvements. According to Garcia’s scouting report on MLB Pipeline, “he has a strong arm but is a well below-average runner with limited range and has provided erratic defense at third base. Though he’s working to improve his agility and glovework, he probably will wind up at first base.” For these reasons, third base simply isn’t the best fit for him and he should see more games at first base next year.
There are clearly reasons to have doubt for him moving forward. Many people have different views on Garcia but I personally am a believer in him. I’m encouraged by the fact that he has improved in the last year.
He’s shown that he’s capable of making adjustments and that is what baseball is all about. His ability to make adjustments and continue to improve on the three major parts of his game I talked about will make or break him moving forward. However, we must remember that he is 19 so his future is far from clear.
His MLB ETA is 2020 or later so the Yankees probably aren’t sure about where he would fit into their future plans at the moment. But if he reaches his ceiling soon, that is something the Yankees will be thinking about sooner rather than later.