Diego Cartaya has lit the Minor Leagues up this season en route to becoming the Los Angeles Dodgers’ No. 1 overall prospect and 29th-best in baseball in MLB Pipeline’s rankings, and his presence is all the more valuable after the trade involving Keibert Ruiz.
Although just 19 years old, Cartaya has long been touted as potentially being the catcher with the highest ceiling in the Dodgers organization. Some of that has been on display this year as he fared well upon joining Low-A Rancho Cucamonga.
But now it appears Cartaya’s rise to stardom will be delayed a little longer. After hitting .298/.409/.614 with 10 home runs and a 157 wRC+ in 31 games for the Quakes, the backstop was placed on the seven-Day injured list with a hamstring strain on Aug. 1.
The Quakes are in the stretch run of their season and it looks unlikely that Cartaya will return for any of their remaining games, according to Kyle Glaser of Baseball America:
Dodgers catcher prospect Diego Cartaya has been on the IL since Aug. 1 due to a strained hamstring. He is “doubtful” to return this season, according to a Dodgers official.
— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) August 19, 2021
The Dodgers originally signed a then-16-year-old Cartaya out of Venezuela in 2018 for $2.5 million, when he was the top-ranked international amateur player in his class.
Since then, he has rapidly risen up the Dodgers prospect rankings and his development likely made president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman more comfortable trading Ruiz in the deal to acquire Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals.
The Dodgers refused to make Cartaya unavailable in trade discussions before the deadline, which signals how high the organization is on him.
The Dodgers have had some success with their untouchable prospects as they were previously unwilling to trade Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Julio Urias, Walker Buehler, Will Smith, Joc Pederson and Gavin Lux when they were all prospects.
Cartaya has drawn comparisons to Kansas City Royals All-Star catcher Salvador Perez due to his big frame for a catcher at 6’3, power and arm strength.
Look for him to get some at-bats in Spring Training next season before likely beginning the year with High-A Advanced Great Lakes.
Lux to play utility role for Dodgers
With Turner and Seager manning the middle infield, Lux will be used in a utility role moving forward.
The former top prospect is expected to see time in the middle infield along with some time at third base and potentially the outfield.
“Whether it’s third, second, potentially right field, it’s a bat off the bench to pinch-hit, pinch-run, whatever the ballclub needs, I know he’s up for,” manager Dave Roberts said.
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