Tuesday, Washington called up Spencer Kieboom to replace Ramos’ spot on the active roster, the last player on the permanent 40-man squad not to be active with the big club.
If anything happens to either Jose Lobaton or Pedro Severino now, this 25-year-old minor league catcher who played for Double-A Harrisburg this year will play in the playoffs. Welcome to the Majors, Spencer. No pressure or anything.
Lobaton and Severino will likely split the duty for the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lobaton, 31, has playoff experience with the Tampa Bay Rays from their 2013 ALDS loss to the Boston Red Sox. In four games, he hit a game-winning home run in Tampa. He has been in the spotlight and was good enough that year to play in 100 games.
This year, he caught 36 and has a bad ankle. He does not hit for average (.220) or own a strong arm. In 20 steal attempts, runners were successful 14 times or 70 percent. In his third season with Washington, what he has is experience with all the starting pitchers and can call a good game behind the plate.
Game calling and comfort is crucial if the Nationals hope to advance.
Severino is familiar with the younger pitchers as he was their catcher in the minor leagues. Although they will be comfortable pitching to him, he has eight games of Major League experience catching. Talk about a baptism by fire. At 22, he will grow into the position, but will be under tremendous pressure in the NLDS.