Diego Cartaya

Diego Cartaya

22-Year-Old CatcherC
Los Angeles Dodgers
2024 Fantasy Outlook
Cartaya took a significant step back during his first campaign in Double-A ball, finishing the season with a .189/.278/.377 slash line over 403 plate appearances. He's never been projected to hit for a high average, but the regression to below the Mendoza Line was discouraging given that he batted a tolerable .254 the previous year in the lower rungs of the minors. Cartaya has a lot of swing-and-miss in his profile -- he struck out at a 29.0 percent rate last season -- so it's fair to be pessimistic about whether he'll be able to catch up to advanced pitching. The tradeoff is a ton of raw power, and given his position, he could be a fantasy star even with a lowish batting average if he's able to reach his potential of 25-plus homers in the majors. 2024 could be a crossroads for Cartaya, as he'll need a bounce-back to avoid tumbling further down prospect rankings. As it is, both Dalton Rushing and Thayron Liranzo may have surpassed him among the Dodgers' catching prospects, and Will Smith remains one of the best backstops in the big leagues. A trade may be in order at some point to clear up the logjam. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
Rest of Season
From Preseason
#363
ADP
$Signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers in March of 2023.
Healthy, productive at Double-A
CLos Angeles Dodgers  AA
April 7, 2024
Cartaya (back) went 3-for-7 with a double, two walks, two runs and two RBI while starting in both of Double-A Tulsa's first two games of the season.
ANALYSIS
Cartaya attended spring training with the big club, but he didn't appear in any Cactus League games while he contended with a back injury early in camp before he was optioned to the minors March 3. The young backstop's ability to play in both of Tulsa's first two games suggests the back issue is behind him at this point. Of the four catchers on the Dodgers' 40-man roster, Cartaya sits fourth on the organizational depth chart behind Will Smith, Austin Barnes and Hunter Feduccia, with the latter having opened the season as Triple-A Oklahoma City's top backstop.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Diego Cartaya See More
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2023
2022
2021
2020
Like the vast majority of catching prospects, Cartaya ranks quite a bit higher on real-life rankings than on dynasty rankings. He projects as a high-OBP catcher with 25-homer power, but he had a 66.1 Contact% at High-A and figures to hit slightly below .250, even at peak. It's easy to fall in love with Cartaya's explosive swing and impressive size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds), but dynasty catchers who are over a year away from the big leagues just don't carry a ton of value in most formats. There's also the fact that the Dodgers have Will Smith at the big-league level and Dalton Rushing in the mid-minors, so Cartaya may not ever have more fantasy value than someone like William Contreras does entering 2023 due to a perceived playing-time cap. Like Contreras, however, Cartaya's bat could be impactful enough that the Dodgers give him some starts at designated hitter when he isn't catching.
Not only was Cartaya an offensive monster (158 wRC+) in his first year at Low-A, but he showed enough promise behind the plate that he projects to stick there. He hit .298/.409/.614 with 10 home runs and a .316 ISO in 31 games as a 19-year-old facing full-season pitching for the first time. He walked a lot (13.1 BB%) and struck out a lot (27.0 K%), which is not a major red flag, given his age and offensive output. Cartaya dealt with a strained hamstring and recurring back injuries, which is something to monitor in future years, especially considering the physical strain of his position. At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, he is an imposing physical presence, and there's no projection needed to envision 25-30 homer campaigns. The strikeouts and the back injuries are the only blemishes in the profile.
Any catching prospect who is years away from the majors has a decent chance of not meeting expectations, but Cartaya's upside is high enough to justify stashing him in deeper dynasty leagues. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound backstop has a plus arm and a good chance to stick at the position, which is half the battle. He also has a high offensive ceiling, and the Dodgers have not been shy about giving him aggressive assignments befitting his high-end pedigree ($2.5 million bonus on July 2, 2018 out of Venezuela). Cartaya went to the AZL as a 17-year-old in 2019 and was invited to the alternate training site as an 18-year-old. It's too early to say what his offensive production will look like in the majors, and his approach will play a role. If he attempts to max out as a power hitter, he could access plus power in games. If he prioritizes getting on base, he could hit for a high average. Most catchers don't do both.
There are valid reasons not to worry about rostering 18-year-old catching prospects in dynasty leagues, but if one were so inclined, Cartaya has the type of upside worth waiting on. A consensus top-three real-life prospect from the July 2, 2018 international signing class, Cartaya received a $2.5 million bonus from the Dodgers and had a successful debut season. He projects to be a plus defensive catcher with a plus arm, so his defense won't cost him playing time and his advancement through the minors will not be slowed due to defensive struggles. At 6-foot-2, 199 pounds, he projects to grow into plus power -- a .180 ISO from a 17-year-old catcher in the AZL is pretty remarkable. He is already very adept at lifting the ball (GB% under 37%), which lessens the concerns over his pull-heavy approach. Cartaya could be a .275 hitter who hits 25-plus HR, but he is at least a few years away from the majors.
More Fantasy News
Sent to Double-A
CLos Angeles Dodgers  AA
Back
March 3, 2024
Cartaya (back) was optioned to Double-A Tulsa on Sunday.
ANALYSIS
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Dealing with back soreness
CLos Angeles Dodgers  AA
Back
March 2, 2024
Cartaya has not participated in spring training games due to back soreness, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Ends season on shelf
CLos Angeles Dodgers  AA
Undisclosed
September 19, 2023
Cartaya has been on the 7-day injured list with Double-A Tulsa since Aug. 30.
ANALYSIS
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Cutting strikeouts at Double-A
CLos Angeles Dodgers  AA
July 12, 2023
Cartaya is hitting .228/.288/.433 with eight home runs and a 20.9 percent strikeout rate in his last 32 games for Double-A Tulsa.
ANALYSIS
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Optioned to minor-league camp
CLos Angeles Dodgers  AA
March 13, 2023
Cartaya was optioned Monday to minor-league camp by the Dodgers.
ANALYSIS
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Latest Fantasy Rumors
Fading slightly
CLos Angeles Dodgers  AA
September 3, 2023
Cartaya has struggled at Double-A, prompting Jim Bowden of The Athletic to remove Cartaya from his top-50 prospect rankings.
ANALYSIS
Cartaya has posted a .189 batting average with 19 home runs through 93 Double-A games. Bowden notes that the 21-year-old is on an "aggressive maintenance plan, limiting his games behind the plate and having him DH a third of his games...as Cartaya has battled back and hamstring injuries throughout his career." Cartaya is likely to begin next season at Double-A as well.
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