The New York Yankees signed infielder Dermis Garcia as an international free-agent on July 2, 2014. At the time, the 16-year old Garcia played shortstop and was ranked the ninth best international free agent by Baseball America. The Yankees paid Dermis Garcia $3.2 MM with a $3MM international signing bonus, tied for the 11th richest international bonus in baseball history (to date) with Yankees star Gary Sanchez.
The biggest concern with the towering 6’3″ shortstop was whether or not his insane pop and raw power would carry over stateside, and his rookie campaign seemed like a bit of a wake-up call for the young Dominican. In 78 plate appearances with the Gulf Coast Yankees, Garcia slashed to an ugly .159/.256/.188 with a horrid 32.1 K%. His power was nowhere to be found, as he recorded zero home runs and just six RBI through his first 23 games. Perhaps the one silver lining to his first taste of pro ball was he managed to earn a walk in nearly 12% of his plate appearances.
Fortunately, Dermis Garcia was certainly no ‘wise-fool’ in his sophomore campaign. In 57 games played with the Pulaski Yankees, an 18-year old Garcia improved his slash line to .206/.326/.454, but perhaps his biggest jump was in OPS, where he improved from a terrible .445 OPS in 2015 to a .780 OPS. Even more comforting for the New York Yankees was Garcia’s display of power and his ability to adjust to minor league pitching. In 194 at-bats, Garcia launched 13 home runs, nine doubles, and 24 RBIs. He even had a streak in which he homered in four-straight Appalachian League Games. Per Fan Graphs, Garcia’s isolated power improved from a terribly low .029 in 2015 to a rather impressive .247 in 2016.
Due to the signing of the other Garcia in the Yankees farm system – top ranked shortstop prospect Wilkerman Garcia, who was signed on the same day as Dermis Garcia during the 2014 international free-agent signing period – Dermis has been converted to third base. The transition has been a work in progress, but scouts insist that Dermis has a plus arm and the offensive profile of a third basemen, and possibly even a corner outfielder.
His 13 home runs in 2016 were second-most in the Appalachian League behind Bradley Jones of the Toronto Blue Jays (16), but with his improved power, we also saw Garcia’s strikeout percentage rate elevate to 34.3% of the time because of his big aggressive swing, which leads to a lot of whiffs.
When he connects, though, the ball never comes back down from space:
Garcia doesn’t go up to the plate and hack away by any means. He did also manage to improve his BB% t0 13.9% of the time in 2016, which affirms his knowledge of the strike zone. The problem is his swing is just so overly aggressive, similar to Carlos Gomez of the Texas Rangers, that it often leads to Garcia coming up empty if he doesn’t connect.
If Dermis Garcia can fix his approach in 2017 and continue to adjust to higher level pitching, he might just get an extended look in Single-A with the Charleston RiverDogs. If not, it’ll likely be another season of Rookie ball back in Pulaski or with the Staten Island Yankees in 2017.