Despite the absence of competitive minor league baseball in 2020, fans of the Dodgers have still been able to get a taste of some of the organization’s best prospect talent, thanks mainly to intrasquad games during summer camp, along with a few early call-ups to the majors.
Already, we have discussed how soon righty pitcher Mitch White might make an impact in the big leagues. If you missed Jose’s column on Friday, he showcased the four Los Angeles prospects who were recently featured on the MLB’s Top 100 list.
One name that’s often forgotten among the young talent pool is 18-year-old catcher Diego Cartaya. He’s frequently overlooked by fans in the shadows of the team’s third-best prospect, switch-hitting catcher Keibert Ruiz. Nevertheless, the fact that Cartaya was selected to the organization’s 60-man major league player pool suggests that he could be a bit more advanced than many think.
Although he’s ranked as the system’s eighth best prospect by MLB Pipeline, some pundits have boldly suggested that Cartaya could flat-out have the most prospect value in the entire organization.
When he signed for a $2.5 million bonus in July of 2018, Cartaya was 16 years of age and ranked second on MLB.com’s International Top 30 list.
He began his endeavors in 2019 by competing 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 over 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 MLB.com‘s Jesse Sanchez, Cartaya is an advanced hitter who displays superb contact skills and who has been praised for his pitch recognition and feel for the strike zone. He has also shown decent 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 not long after welcoming Cartaya to the organization. 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-pound Cartaya draws repeated comparisons to Kansas City’s Salvador Perez because of his large frame, defensive ability, and strong mechanical 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 opposing running game in check.
At this stage, it’s impossible to pinpoint an accurate major league arrival time for the youngster, especially considering that Ruiz and starting big league catcher Will Smith are on top of him on the Dodgers’ totem pole. However, MLB pundits are guesstimating an approximate 2023 Los Angeles debut, so long as he’s still in the system and he’s not blocked by both Smith and Ruiz.