Notes: New prospects rankings; Betts update

August 20th, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- Once an unranked prospect, catcher Diego Cartaya now is listed as 29th overall prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline’s new Top 100 Prospects list that was released Thursday.

Cartaya, currently playing for Low-A Rancho Cucamonga, is joined in the Top 100 by right-hander Ryan Pepiot (No. 67), second baseman Michael Busch (No. 81) and right-hander Bobby Miller (No. 85).

Cartaya, 19, soared to top prospect status in just his second season in the Minor Leagues with a slash line of .298/.409/.614 in 31 games with Rancho Cucamonga. He has shown the impact he can have in the Major Leagues with his throwing accuracy and strength behind the plate.

Pepiot, 23, was a third-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft and is inching his way toward the Majors with his 70-grade changeup. He kept hitters off balance in Double-A Tulsa this season with a 2.87 ERA and 0.94 WHIP over 59 2/3 innings. That earned Pepiot a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late July.

Infielder Kody Hoese, 24, slipped in the organizational rankings, going from No. 3 to No. 13 in the Dodgers’ system, but right-hander Andre Jackson, 25, jumped from No. 22 to No. 7. Jackson made his Major League debut on Monday and struck out five batters in four scoreless relief innings against the Pirates.

Third baseman Miguel Vargas, 21, put his name on the map as a defensive wizard in 2019 with Rancho Cucamonga, at what was then the Class A Advanced level, and he has continued to impress. Vargas is now ranked the No. 6 prospect among Dodgers farmhands.

Maddux Bruns, the club’s 2021 first-round Draft pick, landed at No. 12. The 19-year-old left-hander features a 60-grade fastball and slider.

Betts closer to return
The regular season may be in mid-August, but feels like it’s the beginning of Spring Training. After receiving another cortisone shot in his right hip, Betts no longer is feeling the pain that sidelined him for a second time this season.

“This is the first time I felt normal in a long time,” Betts said. “Super excited. I've got a couple more days to get back. I guess it gets more drills to make sure I'm good and get ready to go.”

Betts missed 11 games in late July because of right hip inflammation. After playing in five games upon his return, the outfielder was placed on the injured list a second time.

Whether Betts will go out on a rehab assignment is to be determined, but the 28-year-old said easing back into competitive play will help him in the long run.

“I would like to at least get hot, then cool off and get hot and go back running around,” Betts said. “Because I just don't want to put anybody in a tough spot. I don't want to go out there and have to come out of the game or anything. So I would like to do that and see how it goes.”

Betts ran pregame sprints on the outfield grass Thursday. Manager Dave Roberts said Betts will participate in a simulated game on Sunday with the hope of being activated next week.

"I just had a brief conversation with Mookie today, and he said [the pain] was gone,” Roberts said. “And he said it with a smile. I haven't seen a smile like that in quite some time.

“So now to ramp up the activities and then get into swinging the bat and running around and throwing the baseball and catching balls in the outfield, I think that's obviously the next progression.”