Height: 6 – 0
Age: 18 (4/1/98)
Wilkerman Garcia signed with the New York Yankees for $1.35 million as an international free agent July 2, 2014, out of Maracay, Venezuela, by Esteban Castillo. He was ranked by Baseball America as the 7th top prospect in the entire 2014 international signing period. Garcia enters this season ranked as the Yankees 9th best Minor League prospect by Baseball America.
He is also currently listed by MLB.com as the organizations 5th best prospect. Out of the Yankees extraordinary international signing class of 2014, Garcia has unquestionably been the most impressive player out of the group.
In 2015, Garcia made is professional debut for one the Yankees Dominican Summer League (DSL) teams. He quickly earned a promotion to the United States after showing a strong performance in the DSL. Garcia made his stateside debut by playing for one of the organizations two Gulf Coast League teams. In a combined 39 games, Garcia hit .299 (28-127) with six doubles, a triple, 19 runs batted in, 23 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases. He reached base in an astonishing 35 games, earning a .414 on base percentage. Following the season, Baseball America ranked Garcia as the number six prospect in the Gulf Coast League.
Garcia plays shortstop, a premium position, pretty well. Some scouts have questioned his ability to stick at the position long-term, but the Yankees organization has not shown these concerns. On a 20-80 scouting scale, MLB.com has given Garcia an initial 60 arm, 55 field, 60 run, 55 hit, and 40 power grades to begin his career. Baseball America has given Garcia a 60 overall prospect grade with extreme risk, due to his young age and lack of experience in the higher levels of the minor leagues.
Wilkerman’s promotion to the Gulf Coast League in his first professional season speaks to how highly regarded he is in the Yankees organization. His performance demonstrated his tremendous aptitude and mature baseball acumen. Scouts rave about Garcia’s switch hitting ability as he has initially showed the skill set to use the entire field from both sides of the plate. His exceptional feel for the strike zone at such a young age will allow him to quickly progress through the Yankees system. Garcia could perhaps reach the organization’s Pulaski or Staten Island affiliate as soon as this year.
With age and strength, Garcia will develop more power. He has a very nice projectable frame, coupled with above average bat speed. Wilkerman’s commitment to improve his explosiveness, flexibility, strength, and speed have been noted by Baseball America. He has earned high praise for his makeup and tremendous work ethic. Garcia may prove to be the most exciting Yankees prospect to watch develop over the next few seasons. He has an incredibly high ceiling and could possibly develop into a five-tool player.