Dodgers Prospect Watch: 17-Year-Old Diego Cartaya Gaining Ground


If you were fortunate enough to catch the Dodgers‘ series opener against the Rockies on Monday, not only did you see the impressive debut of infield prospect Gavin Lux, but you also witnessed a starting lineup that featured an impressive seven homegrown products from the Los Angeles farm.

While this seems impressive in itself, what’s even more amazing is the level of prospect talent that the organization often likes to refer as the “second and third waves.”

One of the hot topics of discussion that kept its momentum throughout most of the 2019 season was the depth the Dodgers have in the catching department. With the emergence of Will Smith, team management was forced to relegate 29-year-old Austin Barnes to Triple-A, where he heads a depth chart that features some of the best backstop prospects in baseball.

Beyond Barnes and Smith are Connor Wong and the highly-touted Keibert Ruiz; however, if you continue down the totem pole, you’ll come across names like Stevie Berman, Hunter Feduccia, Tre Todd and Gersel Pitre.

And, if you proceed down the depth chart even further, you’ll eventually come across the name Diego Cartaya—a 17-year-old catcher from Venezuela who some pundits consider one of the best prospects in the Los Angeles system.

When he signed for a $2.5 million bonus in July of 2018, Cartaya was 16 years of age and ranked second on’s International Top 30 list.

He began his endeavors this year in the Dominican Summer League, but he arrived on United States soil just in time to provide a decent sample size in the 2019 Arizona Rookie League. There, he slashed .296/.353/.437 with three homers and 10 doubles in just 36 games. Additionally, he threw out nine of 36 would-be base-stealers, which isn’t too shabby since he’s competing with prospects several years older than him.

According to Jesse Sanchez of, Cartaya is an advanced hitter who displays plus contact skills and who has been praised for his pitch recognition and feel for the strike zone. He has shown some power to the gaps. On defense, Sanchez says Cartaya has a reputation as a great receiver with very good hands. He handles pitchers well and has a very high baseball IQ.

Even big league skipper Dave Roberts had a tingle of excitement at the time of the signing.

“Didn’t see him hit or anything, but from what I understand from our scouts, very excited about him,” Roberts said late last summer. The body is a very mature body. Really talented kid from what I understand, and so I know we’re excited.”

As stated by MLB Pipeline, the 6-foot-2, 200 lb. Cartaya draws repeated comparisons to Kansas City’s Salvador Perez because of his large frame, defensive ability and strong makeup. He moves well for a tall guy behind the plate and demonstrates advanced receiving skills for his age. He has the arm strength and accuracy to keep the running game in check.

At this stage, it’s impossible to pinpoint an accurate major league arrival time for the youngster, but pundits are guesstimating a ballpark of 2023, so long as he’s still in the system and players like Smith and Ruiz aren’t blocking him.


22 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: 17-Year-Old Diego Cartaya Gaining Ground

  1. Cartaya could make it possible to trade Ruiz for a very nice return, or conversely Ruiz could make it possible to trade Cartaya (for a very nice return). I suppose that ultimately one of the two could become a first baseman or DH and we could wind up keeping Smith (rotating between catcher and infield), Ruiz and Cartaya. Carlos Santana came up as a catcher when we had him and has had a very successful career as a first baseman/DH. I’m betting that the NL has a DH within the next three years so maybe we can keep all three of these very talented players. As far as I can see, the others you mentioned are all tradeable, and some of them will no doubt go on to have good MLB careers. Friedman has really built himself a pretty phenomenal pipeline of talent and catching is a prime example of that.

    1. I read somewhere that Smith could be moved to third. Cartaya is years away and we know anything can happen. I wonder if Farhan asked for any of these guys for the relief help the giants could have offered.

      The offensive explosion was fun but I feel the need to remind everyone we gave up 9 earned last night. It’s still a bit too early to be too anxious about it, but that point is coming up soon this month. Though the overall yearly stats still say we are pretty good, we are 19th in SV% and tied for 4th in BLSV.

      Starting pitching we are ranked #1. Kershaw, Buehler, Ryu. How have they looked lately? Kershaw – 18 innings 11 earned runs. Buehler – got blowed up once, last 7 games 3.4 ERA. Ryu? 18 earned in last 3 games. And Jansen? Does anyone have confidence in him?

      Of course we are still the team to beat. But Atlanta is closing in and the WC leader, Washington, is playing well. Before too long I’d like to see our playoff roster playing and playing well. Say…. around 9/11?

  2. We forgot to mention Yeiner Fernandez, another kid from Venezuela who was signed as an International Free Agent in the last couple of months and who is also quite highly regarded.

      1. Both those guys did pretty well when they were up earlier. Let’s face it, neither of them has a long term future here, so maybe along with the reasoning that Scoop quoted (which does make sense) they might also want other teams’ memories of Garlick and Rios to be positive so they can be included in trades. They don’t want to take a chance that either or both of them might go 0 for September.

      2. I guess they were saying even last September that they had so many guys here they were falling all over each other. I agree though, it would be a nice reward, even if they didn’t play much or at all. Maybe they’ll bring them in without putting them on the roster and let them be part of the team for the stretch and playoffs. They deserve it.

      3. Everyone is available, right?

        “Kyle Garlick and Edwin Rios won’t be activated as the Dodgers reportedly want to keep their expanded roster relatively small. The Dodgers seemingly believe they have enough players that need to get their September at-bats in to prepare for the postseason, which makes some sense.”

  3. Wow it’s great to see a lineup with a real leadoff hitter in it for a change. I can get used to seeing Lux at the top for the next 5 years.

  4. See Kenley is still a lock down closer. He just needs a two or more run lead! Both Jansen and Garcia looking playoff ready! For Tulsa!

  5. I just read this and had to comment on it.

    “He looked calm, didn’t get too rattled out there,” he said. “He held on. Got through the crowd getting on him a little bit, ended up getting the job done. It wasn’t picture perfect, but he got the job done and we got the ‘W’ and we kept rolling.” Dave Roberts

    Manager speak. Spin. We get enough of that bullsh*t every day in our news cycle. How about some hard truth for a change? Nope. Can’t be truthful because the truth apparently sends the wrong message. Look… top Closers on winning teams don’t blow Saves and have ERA’s at 4. This guy is the highest paid closer in baseball and is nowhere near the top in Saves, Save%, K’s/9, BAA or ERA. Where he is near the top is in Blown Saves. If he doesn’t have his collective s*** together by now how are we to believe he will have it together a month from now? We aren’t going to be playing the Rockies or Padres in the playoffs. There will be games where don’t have big leads in the 9th. Do we trust this guy? Frankly I don’t. Not yet. Later? Maybe.

    What to do? Nothing. It’s too late. That ship sailed. Maybe we let Hill or Baez finish the close ones. Maybe Floro or Sadler. Maybe Martin. Maybe a committee of 9th inning matchups.

    3 weeks Kenley. No more 9th inning runs the rest of the way.

  6. I realize no one has asked me, but I have a suggestion as to how to determine the closer. Take the following ten guys: Jansen, Baez, Kelly, Sadler, Kolarek, Ferguson, Urias, Stripling, Maeda, Gonsolin and on the last day of the season have a televised debate with Joe and Orel as moderators. The debate will last three hours. Each will be asked questions and have one minute to answer each specific question. Dodger fans in Iowa will vote first, then New Hampshire, etc. The guy with the best answers with regard to baseball knowledge and also seen as most likely to defeat the Astro or Yankee bullpen will ultimately get the most votes and be named closer for the playoffs. Make the Bullpen Great Again!

    1. Well, that’s a novel approach. “Make the Bullpen Great Again”. That’s funny. Got a stupid MBGA hat to go with that campaign?

      I think I might just wait it out and go with whoever is spinning the ball to the edges of the strike zone the best in the last two weeks. The bullpen job is to get the last 9 outs without giving up any runs. Make it a 9 out collective effort, with all 9 outs being matchup equations. The last three outs are the highest pressure outs of course but why put all 3 of those outs on one guy? I don’t do it just because he’s paid $19 million. Screw that. When the evasive championship is on the line I want my best players, those players that give us the best chance of winning, on the field. By October that could be Kolorek or Floro for the last out. It could also be Jansen or Baez. But if Jansen isn’t hitting his spots, then it just shouldn’t be him.

      As far as I’m concerned this is a three week tryout. Frankly I hope Jansen wins the job, but in my world he still has to earn it.

    1. russians can’t pitch. They just steal stuff. We just let them.

      The Dodgers drawing board is a computer screen. Several of them in fact. Numbers don’t lie. Who is it that doesn’t allow base runners? Who is it that has the lowest BAPIP, LOB%, and xFIP. Look at the O-Swing and Z-Swing and Contact rates. Look at Zone%, F-Strike, SwStr%. Right now looking at the leaderboards it’s hard to find any Dodgers on it. Our bullpen is ranked pretty low for some very good reasons. It would appear that our best arms down there are Baez and Urias. Even Garcia ranks ahead of Jansen.

      3 1/2 weeks. Sounds like a movie. By then 4-5 guys had better have stepped up.

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