Kieboom could be key to Nationals turn around
Just three short years ago, a young Carter Kieboom was in high school doing art projects. Now, Kieboom has a few Major League Basbeall games under his belt as a member of the Washington Nationals and hit a few digners to go along with that.
“This whole thing is crazy to me,” Kieboom told the media on Friday just hours before making his MLB debut.
Just one year ago, Kieboom actually played at Nationals Park at the MLB All-Star Future’s Game. At the time, he was hailed as the Nationals’ number one prospect.
Kieboom was going to make the majors sometime this season, but Trea Turner‘s index finger injury made his debut mutch faster than anticipated.
Entering this past weekend, the younger brother of catcher Spencer, played in 18 games with the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate, the Fresno Grizzlies. He batted .379 with 25 hits, 10 of which for extra bases.
One weekend in, it has been a seamless transition for Kieboom. Two dingers in the District is not too shabby.
His first MLB hit was a game-tying home run in Friday’s game against the San Diego Padres. Although the home ballclub would drop the game 4-3, Kieboom’s homer showed that the 21-year-old lived up to the hype. Oh, and his parents’ reaction was golden.
On Sunday, Kieboom was one of the keys (no pun intended) to a Nats rally from a 6-0 defict. Kieboom completed the young kid trifecta. First, Juan Soto hit a three-run shot. Then, Victor Robles went yard. Finally, Kieboom touched ’em all in the fifth to tie the game.
The Nats dropped Monday’s opener to the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3. Despite both the loss and Kieboom going 0-for-3, his final at-bat in the bottom of the eighth was a walk. He made Cardinals reliever, John Brebbia, work.
Kieboom took the first two pitches outside, both two-seam fastballs. He did not swing at the next two pitches. The first was a slider on a 2-0 count. The next strike was a low fastball near the knees on a call that could have gone either way. He took the next pitch just outside and then checked his swing on a 3-2 count, but did not go around. Great patience and poise beyond his years.
Kieboom is just the latest face in a new era of Nationals baseball, and in a roller coaster season, this youth infusion is a big positive (besides the fact that Robles, Soto, and Kieboom do not pitch in the bullpen).
Top photo: Washington Nationals