The Yankees bucked the system during the 2014 International Signing Period. Showing disdain for the spending limits put in place by Major League Baseball, they signed seven of the top players in that year’s international class for seven-figure signing bonuses. The bold move was supposed to immediately jump start the farm system, even if it came with two-years of restrictions on the international market. The biggest name in that signing group was Dermis Garcia, who displayed prodigious power and soft hands giving him the profile of a potential of an incredibly valuable infielder.
Over the next few years the Yankees system rebounded, becoming one of the top systems in the sport by 2017. The problem was that the boost largely came from players brought in from trades such as Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, and Justus Sheffield. Garica, Nelson Gomez, Wilkerman Garcia and others faded off of the organization’s top prospects list as they struggled for an extended period of times.
Garcia signed with the Yankees as a shortstop, but many scouts at the time expected him to slide off the position and move to a corner infield position within just a few years. With power to spare, a slide down the defensive spectrum did not damage his prospect potential in the eyes of many. Scouts loved his hands and he also had a double-plus arm that would be more than enough for him to man third base moving forward.
While sliding to third base and eventually first base was one thing, the inability to make consistent contact has held him back. Garcia struck out over 30 percent of the time for most of his career except for a short 33 game stretch to start the 2017 season with Rookie-Advanced Pulaski. The 30 percent strikeout rate in the lower levels of the minor leagues is often viewed as the barrier for a player ever being able to produce as a major leaguer — there have been exceptions, but they are not common. With a growing track record of struggles, the Yankees began to look into other plans for their once prized prospect.
As Garcia was playing for Low-A Charleston in 2018, the Yankees tried see if his strong right arm could present another path to the majors. After a handful of bullpen sessions that saw him over 90 mph with his fastball, the plan was seemingly scraped.
In 2019, Garcia again displayed his power while playing for High-A Tampa. He crushed 17 home runs and was leading the Florida State League before going down during the first week in July with a lower leg injury. He also won the league’s home run derby during the All-Star break. On the down side, Garcia struck out 33 percent of the time, showing a need to continue improving his pitch recognition.
Garcia received a promotion to Double-A Somerset to start the 2021 season and started 1-for-24 with 16 strikeouts in his first seven games to start the season. After that dreadful start, the right-handed Garcia poked a soft line drive to right field and his season began to turn around. More hits followed, and he recorded four home runs and a double over the next five games, quickly becoming an offensive force for the surging Patriots.
Another day, another from Dermis Garcia! This no-doubter is his sixth homer of the season, all coming in his last nine games! pic.twitter.com/QRIHIXUPxp— Somerset Patriots (@SOMPatriots) May 22, 2021
Heading into Wednesday evening, he has hit safely in a career high 11 straight games while hitting .341/.388/795 with six home runs in that span. The Yankees even had him make a rare appearance at third base on May 21st while facing the Hartford Yard Goats. A nice defensive play and another home run followed that night. More impressively, he is striking out just 20.4 percent of the time during his 11 game stretch.
Garcia’s hot streak shows why a player with his tools continues getting chances even through extended struggles. He will now have to show the organization that he has turned a developmental corner to continue his rise through the system. If he has, and can employ the Yankees’ system wide motto of “hit strikes hard,” then there are few who can do that as well as Dermis Garcia.