Dermis Garcia likes to hit home runs. The New York Yankees one-time shortstop prospect doesn’t bring too much else to the table right now. But he likes to hit home runs and a lot of them.
Garcia came to the Yankees when they went on their international market spending frenzy back in 2014 and 2015. Signed for $3.2-million at the age of 16 out of the Dominican Republic, the 6-foot-3, 200 pound right-handed hitter was widely considered a top ten international free agent. Most saw his exciting raw power, with the ability to hit mesmerizing long balls, but strongly questioned how his video game-esque hitting would translate from the batting cage to pro ball stateside.
Those concerns were justified in his GCL debut. Garcia slashed .159/.256/.188 with a horrific 32.1-percent strikeout rate in just 78 plate appearances. Strangely enough, you would think such a free swinger wouldn’t know how to take a walk, yet he drew a free pass nearly 12-percent of his plate appearances, which is promising for a 17-year old getting his first taste of pro ball. That power was nowhere to be found, as he hit no home runs and two doubles.
Perhaps that is because he was saving it for 2016. His sophomore campaign in Pulaski has been well documented of late. In just 97 plate appearances, Garcia has launched 10 home runs, some of epic proportions such as the one below from Baseball America’s Josh Norris that made it’s way around social media the other day.
Garcia is posting an insane 158 wRC+ backed by his power surge, which also includes four doubles. His strikeout rate has risen as high as some of his moonshots (38.1-percent), but so has his walk rate (13.4-percent). He recently came off a streak where he launched four home runs in a four-day span. Garcia is slashing .250/.366/.655 with a 1.021 OPS, so — minus the strikeout issues — a very impressive stat line to say the least.
Due to the signing of another Garcia — Yankees top five prospect Wilkerman — Dermis has played his brief pro career at third base. The transition has been a work in progress, but the one thing that is for certain is that Garcia has the powerful arm and offensive profile to fit at third and possibly a corner outfield position. His .866 career fielding percentage and 2.52 range factor leave much to be desired, but again, an 18-year old learning a difficult new position is going to take some bumps and bruises.
Garcia is making a name for himself behind his exciting bat. It will be interesting to see how aggressive they get with his advancement, and whether he will spend another season in Rookie ball at Staten Island or maybe get the chance to see how he handles the pitching in Charleston come 2017.