Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Diego Cartaya is Open to a Position Change

Diego Cartaya is the top prospect in the Dodgers’ farm system, a system Keith Law of The Athletic recently said is the best in baseball. The 6-foot-3, 21-year-old catcher from Venezuela has pounded the ball at every level of the minors he’s played at, from Rookie ball through High-A. He’ll likely start the 2023 season in Double-A and could graduate the last two levels this year.

Of course, the Dodgers already have a catcher, and Will Smith was just named the second-best catcher in baseball on MLB Network’s “Top 10 Right Now” series, creating a potential logjam at the position in the not-too-distant future.

Playing catcher, especially for the Dodgers, is something that’s special to Cartaya, as he recently told Doug McKain of Dodgers Nation. The Dodgers have a long line of excellent catchers that includes Hall of Famers Roy Campanella and Mike Piazza, longterm mainstays like John Roseboro, Steve Yeager, and Mike Scioscia, and recent stars like Smith, Yasmani Grandal, and Russell Martin.

“They always say that being a Dodger catcher is different. And I think that just the tradition and all that, and you just keep learning about them a lot. But it’s just very special being a Dodger catcher.”

Cartaya hasn’t always been a catcher, though. In fact, he didn’t start playing the position until he was a teenager. But circumstances and a fellow Venezuelan helped persuade him to put on the tools of ignorance.

“When I started playing baseball, I always played third. Like I played third growing up my whole life. And about two years before I signed, I started catching just because I’m not fast enough to play infield. And I always wanted to catch because, like, as a kid when you wear the gear and all that, it just looks cool, so I wanted that. And I always liked Salvador Perez, so that’s why I wanted to catch, too.”

So would the former third baseman be willing to move to somewhere else on the diamond if necessary to find room in the lineup? Absolutely.

“I used to play third and I don’t mind playing other positions. I just, I want to be in the lineup, and that’s all that matters for me.”

It’s rare (and valuable) to find a catcher who can hit like Cartaya (or like Smith, for that matter), so if Cartaya can hold things down defensively behind the plate, it’s unlikely the Dodgers would consider moving him. But he still has some progress to make defensively, and if that progress stalls, it’s good to know there are other options to get his potent bat into the lineup.

Of course, if he was too slow to play third base as a teenager, third base in the big leagues after years of squatting in catcher’s gear might not be a viable option, anyway.

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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.


  1. I doubt he’s slower than Justin Turner, with Smith, and also Rushing, a move to 3rd base sounds like a good idea.

  2. Dalton Rushing should be moved to a new position. His bat is too good to waste behind the plate.
    It needs to be in line up full time.

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