BBB 2017 Top Prospect Countdown #14: Wilkerman Garcia
Wilkerman Garcia was one of the Yankees’ top signings during their 2014 international free agent spree when they signed him out of Venezuela for a $1.35 million bonus. Another shortstop prospect, Garcia has the talent that can move him up the system quickly.
Photo Credit: Chad Gusler
At 6’0" and 176 pounds, the switch-hitting 18-year-old (19 on April 1st) made his professional debut in the Yankees organization in 2015. Garcia played in two games on the Yankees’ Dominican Summer League team (4-6 with five stolen bases), before being moved up to the Yankees’ Gulf Coast League team.
In 37 games in the Gulf Coast League, Garcia batted .281 with no home runs, 18 RBIs and six stolen bases across 121 at bats, all while playing as a 17-year-old. In 2016, Garcia moved up to Rookie League Pulaski where he spent the whole summer. Garcia appeared in 54 games, batting only .198 with a home run and 13 RBIs to go along with four stolen bases in 222 at bats.
Garcia is more known as a contact hitter than a power hitter, but expect him to fill out more of his frame as he still has time to grow. He has above average speed and his switch hitting automatically gives him a platoon advantage. His defense could use some work, but still has potential to be a useful up the middle infielder.
While Garcia didn’t have a great season in 2016, part of the reason could be tied to the fact that he injured his shoulder last spring that could’ve affected his play. Either way, Garcia is still very young as he is still just a teenager (He was two and a half years younger than the average competition last season) and still has time to grow and develop.
While Garcia has the speed to be a 20-25 stolen base guy, he needs to work on being more selective on when he steals bases (a career 51% stolen base success rate in the minors). He’ll most likely never hit for much power, but his contact ability and switch hitting ability should help him hit for a solid average. Garcia will most likely begin the season back in Pulaski, but a call up to Staten Island sometime this season isn’t completely out of the cards. With an expected time of arrival to the Major Leagues not being until 2019, we may not see Garcia for a while, but if he develops more very year, we could see him in the Majors in the future or possibly used as a trade chip if the other shortstop prospects such as Gleyber Torres, Jorge Mateo, and Tyler Wade pan out.
Article By: Julian Bussells