Dodgers prospects: Diego Cartaya struggling, Miguel Vargas hot, Drillers crushed

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SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

It's never fun to watch a once-promising prospect slowly fall off the map, but with so many draft and international signings going into the prospect pool every year, busts are an unfortunate inevitability.

The Dodgers have looked like they have one on their hands in Diego Cartaya for some time now. Top-ranked in MLB Pipeline's international prospect list in 2018, he signed with the Dodgers for $2.5 million. His first three years in the minors were promising, and it saw him shooting up rankings to No. 1 in 2023 when he reached Double-A.

However, he started to struggle there and only hit .189 across the season, leading him to tumble down the Dodgers' top 30 (he's No. 8 in 2023) and off MLB's top 100 altogether. Those struggles continued into 2024 despite vows to put the year behind him, and he got through April with a .133 average and only a single extra-base hit and one home run.

He had a great day at the plate on Sunday, though, going 3-4 with a walk, a double, a home run, and three RBI to help the 13-18 Tulsa Drillers to a 9-6 victory.

It'll take a lot more than that for Cartaya to remake himself into a viable major league candidate, but at least some flashes of what made him so hyped before signing are still there.

Dodgers prospects: Diego Cartaya still struggling despite good night, Miguel Vargas raking, Double-A Drillers crushed by Athletics affiliate

Despite the Drillers' 9-6 win on Sunday, they were absolutely dominated by the Midland RockHounds, the Athletics' Double-A team, just the day before. The Drillers saw four RockHounds pitchers and were only able to get two hits off of the last up to break up a combined no-hit bid in the top of the ninth. Meanwhile, the Drillers' pitching was crushed, allowing 14 runs in the loss.

On the flip side, up in Triple-A, Miguel Vargas has continued to look like the minors are beneath him. On Sunday, he went 3-4 with an RBI double and a grand slam, and improved his OPS to above 1.000 and pulled his average just five points below .300.

Given Andy Pages' success in the majors (and subsequent number change to mark a long stay) and Jason Heyward's imminent return, it's unlikely that Vargas will be recalled anytime soon. He is making himself a prime trade candidate, though, and while none of us want yet another Michael Busch scenario, Vargas might have a clearer path to the majors with another team.