Dodgers catching prospect Diego Cartaya isn’t their prospect most likely to make an impact in 2023, but he’s the franchise’s consensus top prospect at age 21. Over at The Athletic, former big-league general manager Jim Bowden ranked his top five catching prospects, and Cartaya unsurprisingly topped his list.
Along with Bowden’s own analysis of the players, he also got comments from team executives about each. For Cartaya, the comments came from Los Angeles general manager Brandon Gomes.
“Diego’s combination of at-bat quality and ability to do damage is exciting. What’s equally impressive is the way he handles a pitching staff and navigates a game behind the plate. He possesses true leadership qualities and makes those around him better.”
There are no huge insights there, but it does give us a little peek into how the LA front office views Cartaya. Bowden’s comments also give an idea how some outside the organization see the young catcher, including one remarkable comparison coming from a former Dodger backstop and longtime manager.
In my view, Cartaya is the best catching prospect in the sport. Signed as an amateur out of Venezuela in 2018 for $2.5 million, Cartaya is certainly living up to that bonus. He’s an above-average hitter who knows how to work a count. He uses the whole field, with strong opposite-field power. (Overall, he has 20- to 25-home run power.) He’s an above-average defensive receiver with a plus-plus throwing arm. I’ve mentioned this conversation before, but it bears repeating: When I talked to former manager Mike Scioscia during the Futures Game last July at Dodger Stadium, he compared Cartaya to a cross between Buster Posey and Salvador Perez. Keep in mind Perez has five Gold Gloves, four Silver Slugger awards, seven All-Star appearances, and he won a world championship. Posey won a Rookie of the Year Award, an MVP, five Silver Slugger honors, a Gold Glove and three World Series. Not bad company. For Scioscia, a former All-Star catcher who played 13 years in the majors and managed for another 19 years, to make that type of comparison was eye-opening. Based on what I’ve seen, I might not go that far, but I did rank Cartaya as the third-best prospect in baseball last August.
For the sake of sanity, you pretty much have to temper the expectations. Yes, Cartaya could end up as a mix of Perez and Posey, but let’s get him to the big leagues first. It’s not fair to saddle a young player with those expectations, but it is kind of fun to think about as you fall asleep at night with a smile on your face about the future of Dodger baseball.
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