Kieboom underwent LASIK surgery over the offseason, which hitting coach Kevin Long said Tuesday is already having a noticeable effect, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
Kieboom clearly needed to do something, as he hasn't come close to delivering on his considerable prospect promise through his first 44 big-league games, hitting just .181/.309/.232. In addition to the eye procedure, he also tweaked his batting stance over the winter. It's certainly possible those two changes help him reach a new level this year, especially as he's still just 23 years old, though it's of course far from guaranteed that either change will have the desired effect on his stat line.
Kieboom made some tweaks to his batting stance in the offseason, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
Working with trainer Jay Hood, the 23-year-old noticed on video that his hands were lower and closer to his body in his stance compared to his best minor-league seasons. "The feeling I had wasn't free, you could say," Kieboom said Wednesday. "It wasn't this loose, free feeling at the plate. It felt very tied up at times, and that's not a feeling I used to have, that I've ever had until really last year." Kieboom hasn't had any kind of success in the majors yet in his brief career, but the Nats still believe he can emerge as a reliable offensive threat at the hot corner. If he struggles again out of the gate in 2021, however, the front office may have little choice but to consider other alternatives at third base.
Kieboom still has the confidence of manager Dave Martinez and the Nationals' organization that he can emerge as the team's starting third baseman, Maria Torres of The Athletic reports. "It's hard to judge [Kieboom] on these short snippets of games and at-bats," GM Mike Rizzo said Thursday. "We have to lean towards our evaluators who have seen him for years and progressed through the system and trust that he's the player that we think he is."
The 23-year-old has only a .181/.309/.232 slash line through his first 44 big-league games spread over the last two seasons, but Kieboom was far more productive during his last extended stint at Triple-A in 2019 when he delivered a .303/.409/.493 line over 109 contests. The Nats backed up that confidence in his development by not adding any real veteran competition for him at the hot corner, but if Kieboom does falter again, the team would have the option of sliding Starlin Castro over to third base and handing second base to Luis Garcia.
Kieboom is the favorite to be the Nationals' starting third baseman, though he'll have to earn his opportunities, according to manager Dave Martinez, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
Kieboom came with plenty of promise as a prospect and is still just 23 years old, but he's yet to come close to delivering on that promise so far. In 44 games over the past two seasons, he's hitting just .181/.309/.232, a line that wouldn't play anywhere and certainly not at an important offensive position like third base. The Nationals hope his talent will finally shine through this time around, but they presumably want to get back to their winning ways following a poor showing in 2020 and won't have much patience with him if his struggles remain significant at the start of the upcoming season.
The Nationals placed Kieboom on the 10-day injured list Wednesday with a left wrist contusion, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports.
Kieboom wasn't progressing as quickly as hoped after being struck in the hand by a 95 mile-per-hour Zack Wheeler sinker in Monday's game against the Phillies, prompting the Nationals to shutter him for the season. After a rough 11-game cameo with the big club in 2019, the 23-year-old showed slight improvement this season, but his .202/.344/.212 slash line over 122 plate appearances still left much to be desired. Kieboom will likely have to battle for an everyday role at third base in spring training rather than being handed the job outright.
Kieboom (hand) remains out of the lineup Wednesday against the Phillies.
Kieboom is dealing with a bruised left hand after a hit-by-pitch forced him out of Monday's contest. He sat out both games of Tuesday's twin bill, and he'll remain sidelined for the series finale against the Phillies. Brock Holt will start at the hot corner Wednesday.
Kieboom (hand) remains on the bench for the second half of Tuesday's doubleheader against Philadelphia.
A bruised hand following a hit-by-pitch forced Kieboom out of Monday's game, and he'll be on the bench for both of Tuesday's games. Brock Holt starts at the hot corner this time around.
Kieboom (hand) will not start the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Phillies.
Kieboom left Monday's contest after getting hit by a pitch in the hand, though X-rays revealed nothing worse than a bruise. Whether or not he's in contention for the nightcap is uncertain. Josh Harrison starts at third base in his absence.
Kieboom's X-rays on his left hand came back negative, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
Kieboom has been diagnosed with a bone contusion in his left hand after being hit by a pitch Monday night. The Nationals will evaluate him on a daily basis moving forward.
Kieboom left Monday's game against the Phillies after being struck by a pitch on his left hand, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com reports.
Kieboom immediately left the contest after being drilled, and he's likely headed for X-rays. He'll be considered day-to-day until further notice.
Kieboom will start at third base and will bat eighth Monday against the Phillies.
The Nationals plan to stick with Kieboom as their everyday third baseman the rest of the season, but the early returns from the rookie haven't been overly impressive from a fantasy standpoint. Since becoming a lineup regular Sept. 5, Kieboom has slashed .213/.327/.234 with zero home runs, zero steals, seven runs and four RBI over 15 games.
Kieboom isn't in Saturday's lineup against Atlanta.
Kieboom went 0-for-8 with one walk and three strikeouts over the last two games, and he'll take a breather Saturday. Brock Holt will start at third base in his absence.
Kieboom was recalled by the Nationals on Saturday and is expected to serve as the team's primary third baseman going forward, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
Kieboom was primarily a shortstop in the minors, but he's blocked at that position by Trea Turner for the foreseeable future. He hasn't shown the offensive numbers necessary for the hot corner through his first 107 career big-league plate appearances, hitting just .169/.299/.236. The Nationals currently sit second-to-last in the National League, however, so they have little reason not to give the 23-year-old the opportunity to prove that he's part of the team's future.
Kieboom has been swinging the bat better at the Nationals' alternate site and according to manager Dave Martinez could rejoin the big-league roster "in the next week or so," Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports.
"I'd love to get him back up here and let him play. I want him to gain some confidence again, and then when he comes up here, see what he can do," Martinez said Wednesday. Kieboom had zero extra-base hits and a 38.7 percent strikeout rate when he was jettisoned from the roster, and the 23-year-old may not immediately regain the starting job at third base when he returns given the Nats' wealth of veteran utility options who can fill in at the hot corner.
Kieboom was sent to Washington's alternate camp site Wednesday, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports.
Kieboom has struggled across 14 appearances this month, going just 6-for-41 with zero extra-base hits and 17 strikeouts. There's a chance the 22-year-old rejoins the big club down the stretch, but for now Asdrubal Cabrera (foot) should handle the majority of the playing time at third base.
Kieboom will start at third base and will bat eighth Sunday against the Marlins.
Though Kieboom will pick up his eighth start in 10 games, he could soon be headed to more of a reserve role now that Howie Kendrick has moved past the hamstring injury that had sidelined him for just over a week. With a meager .602 OPS and no extra-base hits through 56 plate appearances, Kieboom hasn't made a compelling case for earning a full-time job at hot corner.
Kieboom went 2-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored in Thursday's win over the Blue Jays.
Making his second career start at third base, Kieboom appeared to be fully recovered from the minor groin tweak that was bothering him to begin the season and restricted him in the field. The 22-year-old is still looking for his first extra-base hit of 2020, but Kieboom has gone 4-for-9 with a strong 3:3 BB:K through three games. Now that he's healthy, expect him to settle in as the Nats' starting third baseman.
Kieboom is out of the lineup for Monday's game against the Blue Jays.
Kieboom is on the bench for the third time in four games to begin the season, but it's worth noting that he's been nursing a groin issue that has rendered him unable to play the field for now. The rookie is still available to serve as a designated hitter, but because the Nationals prefer to use Howie Kendrick in that capacity, at-bats have been hard to come by for Kieboom. At least until the Nationals are more comfortable with Kieboom's health, Asdrubal Cabrera looks primed to serve as the team's top option at the hot corner.
Kieboom is dealing with a groin injury but will serve as the designated hitter Saturday against the Yankees, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
The injury evidently only hurts when he moves laterally, so he'll be able to hit and run the bases. Saturday's game will be his season debut, as he didn't appear in Thursday's season opener. Exactly how often he'll be in the lineup this year remains to be seen, as he's expected to split time at the hot corner with Asdrubal Cabrera.
Manager Dave Martinez said after Saturday's exhibition game that both Kieboom and Asdrubal Cabrera will play third base this season, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
The skipper was then asked a follow-up question regarding Kieboom being the starter, but he reiterated that both players will see time at the hot corner. Martinez said early in summer training that Kieboom was expected to be the everyday starter at third base this season, but it was Cabrera who received the start for the first exhibition contest. Kieboom made his major-league debut last season and struggled in 11 games with a .128/.209/.282 slash line and 16 strikeouts in 43 plate appearances, and it appears he's ticketed for some form of matchup-based platoon to begin 2020.
|Last 7 Games|
|09/21||vs PHI||W 5-1||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|09/20||@ MIA||W 15-0||5||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|09/20||@ MIA||L 1-2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|09/19||@ MIA||L 3-7||2||1||0||0||0||1||0|
|09/18||@ MIA||L 3-14||3||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|09/18||@ MIA||W 5-0||2||1||1||0||1||1||0|
|09/16||@ TB||W 4-2||4||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|