2021 Dodgers Top 50 Prospects: No. 4, C Diego Cartaya

Diego Cartaya. Photo by: Cody Bashore

Next up in the Top 50 is the youngest guy in the Top 10, but also perhaps the one with the highest ceiling. He’s a catcher from — you guessed it — Venezuela.


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I’ve included Future Value (FV) grades and risks for the Top 50 prospects. For example, if a guy gets a “50 low,” he has a really good chance to be an average player at his position. If a guy gets a “55/High,” there’s a good chance he won’t reach that ceiling, but the potential is there. The grades are 20-80 (50 is average), and the risks are as follows:

  • Low: Players who are usually older, have debuted, are relievers and/or have higher floors than ceilings
  • Medium: Players who are a mix of younger and older, usually have higher floors
  • High: Players who are usually younger with potential, but also question marks
  • Extreme: Players who are generally younger with star potential, but a ton of question marks

This is to show what value a player might provide at the MLB level. The higher the risk, the less likely a player will reach that ceiling.


Editor’s Note: I am not a scout (#notascout). I am an amateur when it comes to evaluating players. I don’t claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information I observe/obtain to the people. Notes and comments are based on personal observation, talking to sources, reading scouting reports and watching video. For future entries in this series: All ratings in the charts below are on the standard 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is roughly average, 80 is elite and nearly unattainable and 20 is unacceptably poor. Enjoy.

Other Notes: “Role” is a realistic future role (slightly optimistic in some cases). Age is the 2020 season age for the player (June 30 is the cutoff date). “Comps” are usually the best-case scenario based off stature and production. They in no way guarantee the player will mirror the career of the comp.


Rating Key

80 — Elite
75 — Borderline Elite
70 — Plus-plus
60-65 — Plus
55 — Above-average
50 — Average
45 — Fringe-average
40 — Below-average
30-35 — Poor
20-25 — Very Poor

4. Diego Cartaya

DOB: 9/7/01Age: 19Height: 6’2Weight: 200Bats: RightThrows: RightPosition: C

Acquired: International free agent (Venezuela), July 2018, $2.5 million signing bonus

Strengths: Plus-power potential, plus-bat speed, plus-arm

Weaknesses: Lacking experience, receiving needs work, expands strike zone

Key statistics: .281/.343/.432, 7.7 BB%, 20.3 K%, .151 ISO (2019 DSL/AZL)

Role: First-division catcher

Player comparison: Yan Gomes

Summary: The Dodgers tend to invest heavily in Venezuelan amateur prospects, and Cartaya is no exception. He inked a deal with a $2.5 million signing bonus in July 2018 and looks like he could be the next in the line of top-tier catching prospects. Oh, and he’s just 19 years old.

Already physically mature for his age, Cartaya is an imposing hitter at the plate who possesses plus-bat speed that allows him to make lots of loud contact. He’s able to elevate the ball from an upright stance with a significant leg kick, which gives him a chance to have 60 power from the catching position (much like Will Smith). The biggest knock against his offensive game is that he’ll expand the strike zone a bit too much and chase at time, but he’s already adept at going the other way, so if he can improve his plate discipline, the sky’s the limit for him.

Behind the plate, he has some work to do when it comes to receiving. He’s still raw in that regard, and his framing should improve with more reps. However, his throwing game is on point. He’s surprisingly quick and agile for a kid his size, has a quick release and a plus-arm that should help control the running game (if that’s a ever becomes a thing again). As a runner, he’s not going to win many footraces, but that’s to be expected from most catchers.

There’s All-Star potential in Cartaya’s profile. He could be a first-division catcher who hits near the middle of the lineup. It’s the kind of profile that could displace Smith behind the dish. He just needs more reps overall to help realize that potential. The Dodgers were aggressive in promoting him stateside in his first pro season, so him starting with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga — after some time at extended spring training wouldn’t be at all surprising. A potential late-season promotion to High-A Great Lakes could be in the cards, provided he performs well enough on both sides of the ball.



2020 Ranking: 8
2021 Location: Low-A Rancho Cucamonga/High-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2024


Next Up: Prospect No. 3

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.