3B,SS - WSH
The Nationals recalled INF Carter Kieboom from Triple-A prior to Saturday's game against the Orioles.
Kieboom is taking the place of Jordy Mercer, who was placed on the IL. He has hit just .236/.376/.385 in Triple-A this year.
The Washington Nationals reinstated Alex Avila, Yan Gomes, Brad Hand, and Jordy Mercer from the COVID-19 injured list Friday and returned Carter Kieboom to the alternate site.
Kieboom entered Spring Training with a chance to earn a roster spot but struggled to a .133 batting average and .426 OPS through 17 games. He made the big league roster by default after the Nationals started the year with a COVID outbreak and had to place nine players on the COVID-19 injured list. Now that they are starting to at least a handful of those players back, Kieboom is being returned to the team's alternate site to continue to work through his struggles at the plate.
The Nationals recalled infielder Carter Kieboom from Triple-A on Tuesday as part of a flurry of moves and roster changes in the wake of their COVID-19 issues.
With both Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer being placed on the injured list as part of COVID-19 protocols, the former highly-regarded prospect is being brought up to serve as infield depth. Kieboom struggled mightily in spring training again this season and is not in the lineup on Tuesday. He can be ignored for fantasy purposes for now.
Carter Kieboom was optioned by the Nationals on Saturday, and will begin the year in the minor leagues.
This is bad news for Kieboom, who Nationals fans were hoping would be the heir apparent to Anthony Rendon. Kieboom slashed just .150/.227/.250 with 0 HRs in 16 games this spring. Additionally, in 165 career plate appearances, Kieboom has just 2 HRs. Kieboom was reportedly reworking his swing this spring, but it clearly wasn't enough for him to earn the job at 3B. The Nationals aren't particularly deep when it comes to infield talent, which makes this an especially bad look for Kieboom. He's still just 23 years old, so he could still figure things out in the minors -- but it's not looking good for Kieboom at this point.
Carter Kieboom has been reworking his swing during spring training, working closely with Nationals' hitting coach Kevin Long. Manager Dave Martinez indicated that Kieboom has been 'swinging the bat a little better,' highlighting a couple extra base hits Kieboom had over the weekend.
Kieboom is projected to start the year as the Nationals' starting third baseman. Kieboom struggled after being called up last year, slashing .202/.344/.212 without a home run. Kieboom's struggles have continued throughout the spring, as he is hitting just .171 with no home runs. Perhaps the biggest concern about Kieboom's struggles at the plate is his lack of power. In 165 career plate appearances, Kieboom only has 2 home runs and is slugging a a meager .232. Kieboom is a former first round pick and is only 23 years old, so fantasy managers should still monitor his progress. It's possible he could break out in 2021, but his swing changes need to have an effect sooner rather than later. The Nationals can only afford to wait so long on a corner infielder who just isn't hitting.