If you have been tracking our Pinstriped Performers of the Night, there’s one infielder down in Class-A Advanced Tampa that has been voted by you more than anybody in the system. So far, Dermis Garcia has been selected six times and it included four straight days where he won the honor.Garcia has always been an intriguing prospect since he was a part of the 2014 International Free Agent class. At 21 years old, the infielder who has spent time at third base and first base in his professional career has been thriving in the Florida State League, which is known for being a hitter-friendly league.
Over his first 23 games of the 2019 season, Garcia has a slash line of .298/.358/.571 with six home runs, 24 RBIs, and an.OPS of .929. He has seven multi-hit games, is seventh in the FSL in.OPS, has two more total bases (48) and six more RBIs than any other player in the league.
Heading into Tuesday night’s game against Charlotte, Garcia is on a 14-game on-base streak. When you consider that he is a player that relies mainly on his power, that is a big accomplishment at this point in the year. Out of his 25 hits this season, 11 of them have been for extra bases (five doubles, six home runs).
When you go back to last season, 34 of Garcia’s 78 hits at Single-A Charleston went for extra bases. He had 17 doubles, two triples, and 15 home runs. He is going to crush the baseball, but the one thing he has to work on is the strikeout numbers. The right-handed hitter had 111 strikeouts last year, and his 32 K’s are the third-most in the FSL.
The high strikeout numbers are a concern, but it is not something to be too alarmed about since K’s aren’t as frowned upon as they used to. Our own Jason Woodell from Prospects Live pointed out on Twitter, keep an eye on the changes he has made to his approach to the baseball and here’s more from Woodell on Garcia’s approach at the plate:
Dermis Garcia may be the most improved player I've seen since 2018.
Has quieted his set up and shortened his stride. Able to keep his hands back and through the ball.
While he is still K's a ton he has improved the quality of his contact. Dermis is strong enough.. pic.twitter.com/jQ1H5aiCLH
— Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame) April 29, 2019
“Less is more. That’s the biggest offensive adjustment in Dermis Garcia’s game. A long swing has neutralized his present plus raw power and strength. In the past, Garcia would lunge at the pitch which left him susceptible to off-speed away and late on the heat,” said Woodell. “Garcia has quieted his front side and is staying behind the ball. Now when his front foot strikes, he is in a position to do damage. The bat speed looks like what you’d expect from such a highly touted young power hitter.”
If you want to look at Garcia’s success from an analytical perspective, one thing that stands out is that he is putting the ball in the air more. According to FanGraphs, his flyball percentage is at 47.2 percent, which is up from 42.6 percent a year ago. Also, he is pulling the ball 57.4 percent of the time (up from 52.8 last year).
Now, the big question for Garcia is whether or not he can contribute positively with his defense. He has been used mainly at first base in Tampa after playing some third base last year. While we are only one month into the minor league season, it is important to note that he has not made an error yet this year after making 21 in the last two years combined. With that being said, Woodell said his defense isn’t that big of a key to monitor:
“Defensively, Garcia is a fringe to below-average 1B. That doesn’t concern me too much at the High A level. Quite frankly, defense was never going to carry his profile. He is a good athlete so I expect him to continue to get better at 1B,” said Woodell.
Time will tell whether or not Garcia moves up to the Eastern League and Double-A Trenton to face tougher pitching. With that being said, this is a player whose hot streak down in Florida is putting him on the map in Yankees prospect circles. The power in his swing makes him a must-watch when you head out to the ballpark.