With the Trade Deadline nearing, it’s impossible to escape the rumors of top prospects headlining blockbuster packages. Diego Cartaya has been one of those names, and on Thursday night, he showcased exactly why he’s so highly coveted.
“I’m kind of surprised I have 17 home runs this year,” Cartaya laughed. “I never thought that I was going to be a power hitter. I just try and put a good swing on the ball, and good things are happening.”
The 20-year-old got the scoring started promptly, sending the eighth pitch of the game from Lugnuts righty Joey Estes way over the fence in left field for a two-run dinger.
While the first homer came on a hanging breaking ball, the second was a letter-high fastball that Cartaya jumped all over. The Dodgers' top prospect attacked the first pitch and cranked it to the same part of the ballpark, but this time, it traveled 111 mph off the bat and sailed right out of Dow Diamond.
“It felt good. I just try and help the team, and usually home runs always feel good,” Cartaya said.
Though defense is hard to measure through numbers, Cartaya feels that his game calling has “been much better.” Four Great Lakes pitchers combined to hold Lansing to just two runs on three hits, with both of the runs scoring via walks.
The multihomer performance is Cartaya’s first such effort since April 30, when he reached base five times and fell a triple shy of the cycle in a 4-for-4 game with six RBIs for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
That was something of a slump buster for the Venezuela native, who hit .288 in his next 18 games before earning a promotion to High-A. Since joining the new level on June 1, he’s batting .286 with a .952 OPS, eight homers, 25 RBIs and 20 walks in 35 games.
“I feel like it’s the same game. It doesn’t change because of the level,” Cartaya said. “Obviously there’s a lot of things I have to work on. It takes time. I feel like I’ve been doing a good job.”
MLB Pipeline's top-rated amateur in the 2018 international class, Cartaya signed for $2.5 million and has hit his way up the rankings ever since. He was ranked No. 26 overall in 2021 and rose to No. 15 in Pipeline’s midseason Top 100 re-rank before graduations bumped him up to No. 12.
Even during the whirlwind that is trade season, Cartaya doesn’t pay attention to any of the outside noise. His only focus? Improving as a player.
“I just try to do my thing,” Cartaya said. “I just come to the field every day ready to do my job.”