Should Diego Cartaya fans be worried? Five takeaways on the Dodgers’ MLB draft

Diego Cartaya is considered one of the top prospects in the Dodgers' organization.
(Daniel Shirey / MLB Photos via Getty Images)

During the first round of this year’s MLB draft, Dodgers vice president of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino did the only thing he could last Sunday.

Sit and wait for the Dodgers first pick to come up.

“This time felt a little longer,” Gasparino joked. “I always blame [president of baseball operations] Andrew Friedman in these cases.”

Indeed, the Dodgers didn’t make their first pick this year until the beginning of the second round at No. 40 overall, a penalty for the club exceeding the luxury tax threshold last year.


Diego Cartaya, 20, is a potential cornerstone, but the Dodgers should trade him if it helps them acquire Juan Soto, 23, from the Washington Nationals.

July 17, 2022

Yet, even without a first-round pick, Gasparino emerged from the draft this week encouraged by the 19 other selections the Dodgers were able to make, confident they had found value in their overall.

Here are five takeaways from the Dodgers 2022 draft.


More than Diego Cartaya insurance

Dodgers catching prospect Diego Cartaya in 2018.
Catching prospect Diego Cartaya is considered one of the top prospects in the Dodgers’ system.
(Michael Owen Baker / Associated Press)

The correlation seemed more than coincidental.

As trade deadline rumors have heated up in recent weeks, one name that has emerged as a potential trade piece is top Dodgers prospect Diego Cartaya — a 20-year-old catcher.

When the Dodgers made their first pick this week, they just so happened to select University of Louisville junior Dalton Rushing — a 21-year-old catcher.


“It’s a little probably in the weird zone, how it looks,” Gasparino conceded.

Still, Gasparino said potential deadline moves had no bearing on the team’s top selection. They instead picked Rushing for his potential, a left-handed power hitter who the team felt was undervalued after hitting 23 home runs this year.

“We were a little bit, we thought, ahead of the industry in identifying him as a left-handed hitting power catcher,” Gasparino said. “We just thought it was a really good pick.”


Pivoting to position players

A Dodger logo is seen at the top of Dodger Stadium.
(Danny Moloshok / Associated Press)

In each of the last several drafts, the Dodgers had gone heavy on adding pitchers to their pipeline.


This year, though, Gasparino said the team altered its approach. They recognized the difficulty of hitting in the game’s modern era, with pitchers throwing harder and developing faster than ever. They tried to be more “open-minded” in their evaluation of hitters, especially in a draft they felt had more position player depth than others in recent years.

As a result, 15 of their 19 selections, including each of their first seven picks, were players who swung the bat. Eight of them were listed as shortstops.

“We did prioritize position players this year, and we thought that was the strength of the draft,” Gasparino said. “We just really liked the athletes and defensive versatility and up-the-middle players we were able to get our hands on.”


Two-way experiment

Saint Mary's Christopher Campos runs the bases against UC Riverside during a game in March.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

The Dodgers’ seventh-round pick, Christopher Campos, was listed as a shortstop.


However, the Saint Mary’s College product has been a two-way player during his collegiate career — and will at least begin his career with the Dodgers continuing to do both.

“We’re gonna try to do both and figure out a plan developmentally to maximize each, and then just see which way it goes,” Gasparino said. “Maybe we get lucky and he can handle both. But we love his talent on both sides.”

This year, Campos hit .299 in 134 at-bats at the plate and had a 2.16 ERA in 16 ⅔ innings as a pitcher. He continued to serve as a two-way player with his summer league team, as well, recording five saves in six outings.


Familiar last names

Baylor infielder Kyle Nevin warms up during a game against UCLA in March.
(Michael Wyke / Associated Press)

There are two new Dodgers with major-league family ties.

In the 11th round, the club drafted Baylor University outfielder Kyle Nevin, the son of Angels interim manager and former big-leaguer Phil Nevin.


In the 16th round, they picked UCLA pitcher Jared Karros, the son of former Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros.

Gasparino described both players as late-bloomers physically with a lot of potential to still develop.

“We think they both have huge upsides,” Gasparino said. “Having the dads involved was just an extra bonus for us.”


NIL challenges

Billy Gasparino, Dodgers vice president of amateur scouting, speaks to reporters in June 2017.
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images)

Convincing high school prospects to forgo college and sign a professional contract has always been one of the biggest challenges of the draft.


But now, with college players capable of earning name, image and likeness compensation under new NCAA rules, getting the signatures of collegiate prospects is no sure thing either.

Gasparino didn’t foresee the Dodgers being unable to sign any of their draft picks this year, but acknowledged the new NCAA landscape “created a few different challenges on our end.”

“I think it’s really just at the beginning stages,” Gasparino said. “We had to do more work, understand their situation more. We had several players [we scouted] who just kind of said, ‘I’m going back to school if I’m a seventh-round pick or later.’