No stranger to spending money, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman opened his checkbook on Wednesday to sign some of the top international free agents.
The Yankees brought in a total of nine international prospects in hopes of bolstering the farm system with high-level talent moving forward.
Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes reported that shortstop Dermis Garcia was in agreement with the Bombers (link in Spanish).
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com tweeted that third baseman Nelson Gomez, another top international prospect, was also inked on Wednesday. Sanchez was on the pulse of a ton of action on Wednesday, as he also broke the news about the signings of shortstop Wilkerman Garcia and shortstop Diego Castillo.
Ben Badler of Baseball America was on the beat of several signings. He reported that shortstop Hyo-Joon Park, catcher Miguel Flames and outfielder Juan De Leon all came to terms on deals with the Yanks.
Following the spending spree, ESPN's Buster Olney took to Twitter to describe the exploits of Cashman:
The Yankees have gone all Rockefeller/Vanderbilt/Carnegie today in cornering international amateur market. Landed majority of top guys.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 2, 2014
Which prospects should you be on the lookout for moving forward? None of them are MLB-ready just yet, but some are closer than others. Below is a breakdown of the three best.
Dermis Garcia, SS, Dominican Republic
Garcia has a huge ceiling, but his future likely doesn't bode well for him to stay at short. While a good fielder, Garcia will continue to grow, and his frame will be better suited somewhere else. He could move to third or possibly a corner outfield spot, but, that said, many feel he is athletic enough to stay at the position:
Dermis Garcia might grow out of the SS position but he is athletic enough to stay at the spot. Smooth swing, raw power, immense potential.— Yankeesource (@YankeeSource) February 9, 2014
It's Garcia's bat that does the talking, though, so all the Yankees need is league-average defensive work. Regardless of the position, he just can't kill the team with errors.
Garcia's swing is super smooth. He uses it to generate massive amounts of power, a reason why many considered him the most powerful prospect in this year's class of international prospects. This smooth swing gives him power to all fields, as it allows him to quickly get his hands in to put the barrel on inside pitches. It also gives him the ability to keep his hands back and cover the outside part of the plate.
His smooth swing is for power, however. He'll have to learn how to become a more polished contact hitter, as strikeouts might become an issue in the future.
After he receives a year or two of coaching in the states, Garcia will see huge improvements all around.
Nelson Gomez, 3B, Dominican Republic
Possibly the only player in this class who can rival Garcia's power is Gomez. The third baseman has a big bat, and his power in batting practice has translated to in-game power over in the Dominican Republic.
Whether or not it can translate to the states remains to be seen, but this kid knows how to put on a show in BP. That alone likely attracted the Yankees his way.
Gomez has the arm to stay at the hot corner long term, but his size might inhibit his mobility. At 6'2", 195 pounds, Gomez is already a good size for the bigs. He'll continue to fill out with time, though, so a move over to first base or to a corner outfield spot might be best.
If you can hit, though, somebody will find a home for you.
This kid certainly has an advanced power tool, as he can hit the ball a long way. If he hits consistently from the start, Gomez could find his way to the bigs within two or three years. Third base is a giant question mark moving forward, as Alex Rodriguez might not be the player we're used to when he returns.
Yangervis Solarte, once thought to be the answer, has regressed significantly in the past few weeks.
All Gomez needs to do his keep hitting.
Juan De Leon, OF, Dominican Republic
You can't build a team only around power hitters, so Cashman went out and signed an all-around hitter on Wednesday. De Leon is probably the top overall hitter in the class, as he uses a quick swing to cover all parts of the plate and hit in all counts.
The fact that he has such a good swing bodes well for him moving forward. Young guys with quick swings often develop power, meaning De Leon could become a decent power guy in the future. His combination of contact ability and potential for power remind me a lot of a young Michael Brantley of the Cleveland Indians.
Which prospect are you most excited to see?
De Leon is a potential five-tool player,given his potential for power. He runs well, plays good defense, has a good arm and hits like I mentioned above. Not all five-toolers pan out after stints in the minors, but De Leon is a good candidate to stick.
The Dominican outfielder uses his athleticism to track down fly balls and play a solid game out in the field. While not the most polished defender, his athleticism and speed allow him to catch up to balls he got poor jumps on.
That aspect of his game needs a little work, but that will come with experience at a higher level.
It won't be easy for De Leon to crack the outfield picture in New York, given the long-term commitments to Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, but he has the potential to force a move several years down the line.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR