Diego Cartaya, C, LAD

Ready to break your heart with another good catcher prospect? Meet Diego Cartaya.

Video courtesy of Baseball.
  • Born: September 7, 2001
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’3″, 219-lbs
  • Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018 out of Venezuela

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Cartaya was signed in 2018, and he began his professional career in the Dominican Summer League. I rarely note such stats and wait until he reaches the US leagues to begin analyzing. So that he does later in 2019 with Rookie ball play where he plays fairly well. He’s a catcher, and we grade on a curve with catchers because they have so much else they are working on.

In 2021 he plays the full year in A ball, and his OBP is terrific, his power is over the moon, and the walk rate is impressive as hell. He struck out a bit too much, but otherwise this is great.

You know what’s even better? He starts 2022 at the same level, and puts up basically the same batting line. Those great skill numbers really are his skill numbers.

So the Dodgers move him up to High-A, and while the external numbers dip a bit but are still excellent, the strikeout and walk numbers are so identical it’s like they were photocopied. This is Cartaya, year after year, level after level.

Monthly Splits

It’s in the monthly splits we see more ups and downs. He spent April getting going, and by May he was producing on all cylinders. So off to High-A he goes and June is just more of the same. He slips a bit in July, bounces back in August, and then does what I absolutely knew would happen even before I ran the numbers: this 20-year-old catcher prospect ran out of gas in September.

Handedness K% and BB%

A (vs RH): 26%K and 15%BB. (vs LH): 29%K and 12%BB.

A+ (vs RH): 27%K and 14%BB. (vs LH): 27%K and 13%BB.

Whoa! This is impressive. The guy is a rock no matter who he faces, no matter the level.

Other Notes

The tutoring he’s received since entering pro ball at age 16 has resulted in occasional tweaks, both to his stance and his swing. Cartaya told me that he used to be “more of a big launch-angle guy,” but now has a flatter swing. 

FanGraphs interview, September 2022

That’s interesting. He’s deliberately going for more of a line drive approach. That makes sense for his Hard Hit % was 29.2%, good but not great. Yes, he hit 22 home runs this past year, but he’s going more for OBP than pure selling out for power. This is a good sign for a guy who shows a great batting eye.

Cartaya is a high-variance prospect with a risky hit tool and stuff to clean up on defense, but his ceiling is enormous if he improves both, and he’s probably an everyday player even if he just cleans up one of them.

Eric Longenhagen’s November 2022 comments about 40-Man roster adjustments

The Scouts


Well, we haven’t seen him at Double-A yet, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. If he does well there in 2023, the sky’s the limit. Until then, let’s wait and see.

He’s a catcher prospect, so we know two things: He has no speed, and he will take longer to develop.

He’s a Dodgers catcher prospect, so it might take even longer.

He needs to better develop his defense before he can become a fantasy mainstay at that position.


He’s got power, he’s got a good batting eye, he’s working on his defense, and he looks like a top prospect.

Just keep in mind that he won’t even see Double-A until 2023, so while he might see the majors by 2024, a more realistic date would be 2025 for regular play, and maybe 2026 before he reaches a fantasy groove.

What? Don’t look at me like that! That’s just how it is with catcher prospects who need to tighten up their defense. It takes time.

Sure can be worth it when it — finally — hits though…