Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Talks Next Steps for Top Prospect Diego Cartaya

Catcher Diego Cartaya is the consensus top prospect in a stacked Dodgers farm system, but he’s just 21 years old and hasn’t yet played above High-A in the minors. So while his arrival in Los Angeles isn’t likely in 2023, he’ll get an extended look in spring training because Will Smith and Austin Barnes will both be participating in the World Baseball Classic.

The point of the minor leagues, of course, is to get ready for the big leagues, so the often-unspoken truth is that minor leaguers have things they need to work on. Cartaya is no different, and LA manager Dave Roberts talked this weekend about the prized prospect and what’s next in his development plan.

“I think that there’s some things with the receiving that we’re trying to address with Diego and there’s a lot of opportunity to clean some things up. With the game calling, I think the game calling is very subjective. There’s one group of people that could say he’s a great game caller and there’s another group that can say he doesn’t call well — and this is not just specific to Diego. So I don’t know enough. I know that he’s got great makeup, he wants to learn, he asks the right questions and so it’s our job to educate him on hitters and his job to learn his pitchers to know what they can and can’t do so, it works both ways. But for me, I’m very pleased with Diego, I’m very bullish on him. I like him a lot.”

The interesting thing is that Roberts only talked about defense. While Cartaya isn’t yet a finished product offensively, he’s been a great hitter the last two years while playing against mostly older pitchers with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga and High-A Great Lakes. The plan offensively appears to be, “Keep doing what you’re doing, keep progressing.” The focus on defense is because as a catcher, Cartaya is one of the top prospects in the game. If he were unable to stick at catcher, he’d still be a prospect and he’d still be expected to be an excellent hitter in the big leagues, but his stock wouldn’t be nearly as high.

Cartaya got a couple plate appearances on Sunday, working a tough walk his first time up and then taking a less-tough four-pitch walk his second time. Hopefully we’ll actually get to see him hit some fair balls this spring, as well as watching him work on his defense behind the plate. With his extra playing time this spring, Cartaya will be one of the most fun players to watch at Camelback Ranch.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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