For years the greatest strength of the Yankees system was its catching depth. Jesus Montero, Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine, have all been top-100 catching prospects over the years. While players like John Ryan Murphy and Francisco Cervelli have both shown that at the very least they’re very good back-ups. The Yankees still has a couple high end catching prospects, but the team’s greatest depth has shifted to the shortstop position. The team has a legitimate shortstop prospect from AA to the DSL.
Tyler Wade, Abital Avelino, Jorge Mateo, Angel Anguilar, and Thairo Estrada all came into the year as interesting shortstop prospects. But the biggest testament to the Yankees depth is they developed even more interesting SS past these players. The biggest new SS prospect is Wilkerman Garcia.
Garcia has received a lot of praise from Ben Badler, who thinks he might have more offensive potential than Mateo, and is a player opposing general managers should be asking the Yankees for in trades. Garcia’s number certainly earn him this praise.
Garcia began the year in the DSL, but that might have been due to visa difficulties because he was promoted after just two games. His GCL state-side career, got derailed by a hamstring injury, but Garcia has raked since getting back on the field.
In his small 19 game sample Garcia has put up a wRC+ of 140, a wOBA of .387, has gotten on base exactly 40 percent of the time and has a SLG of .394. Even in a small sample these numbers are impressive for a 17 year old in rookie ball. But really the bigger story is his tools.
Before the season Kiley Mcdaniel described him as player whose tools was “solid across the board with average to above tools and advanced feel, but nothing flashy”. Since then however his stock has gone up, he has at least shown plus speed, and according to Badler the switch hitter’s tools only got better. Garcia may not have been the highest paid position player from last year’s international free agent class, but so far he’s been the Yankees best prospect from that class.
If Garcia continues to dominate the GCL they Yankees might be aggressive with him in 2016, and let him start the season in A-Ball. But the far more likely option will be letting him start the year in the NYPL. That’s the extent of the push they gave to Estrada, who performed similarly in rookie ball.