Washington Nationals: Carter Kieboom raising his prospect status

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MIAMI, FL - MAY 27: A detailed view of a Washington Nationals batting helmet in the dugout before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on May 27, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MAY 27: A detailed view of a Washington Nationals batting helmet in the dugout before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on May 27, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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Washington Nationals prospect Carter Kieboom is rapidly raising his prospect status in 2018. Recently promoted to Double-A, he could break through soon.

The Washington Nationals have been able to churn out a series of great prospects in recent years. Next up on the conveyor belt is Carter Kieboom, who has just been promoted to the Harrisburg Senators.

It’s been fully earned, as the young shortstop hit .298 with 11 homers and 46 RBIs. The power is particularly impressive, as in 2017 he hit nine over the whole season, so his progress in that department is remarkable.

Now in his first two games with the Senators at Double-A, he’s already hit a home run and looks to continue rising up the ranks. But the level he’s at now is of particular note, as the Nats have never been afraid to have prospects completely skip Triple-A to get to the bigs.

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You may recall that young sensation Juan Soto was promoted directly from Double-A Harrisburg mere weeks ago. Now that Kieboom has reached that level, he’s within striking distance of a big league call-up.

Whether that actually happens to Kieboom in 2018 is another matter, as Soto is likely a unique case. Soto’s approach at the plate has translated at the highest level with more walks than strikeouts and has the look of a generational talent.

Kieboom doesn’t quite have that approach yet, with 138 Ks to 80 walks in his pro career, so has a lot more to work on in Double-A. Although if he can continue to progress at his current rate, there’s no reason why he can’t be an All-Star caliber some day.

But one dynamic at play here is whether he could become that caliber while with the Nationals. Soto and fellow super-prospect Victor Robles have been deemed untouchable by Mike Rizzo. This leaves Kieboom as the Nats highest rated prospect who is “available” in trade talks.

In MLB.com’s latest prospect rankings, they bumped Kieboom all the way up to 66, after starting the year in the 90s. So it’s clear his stock is growing in league circles as he continues to perform in the minor leagues.

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The Nationals would probably only part with Kieboom to gain a true marquee type player. Craig Mish of SiriusXM said that the Miami Marlins would still only want Kieboom as a supplemental piece in a deal for J.T. Realmuto. So that may not even be an option.

Even if the Nationals hold onto their prized infield prospect, he provides great insurance. Anthony Rendon is out of contract after the 2019 season, and Kieboom has the arm strength and projectability to play third at the highest level. So holding onto him makes extending Rendon less important to the survival of the team.

Next: Soto better than Harper as a rookie?

It’s going to be fun to watch Carter Kieboom do his thing the rest of 2018. And we may well see him with the Washington Nationals as soon as 2019 if all goes to plan.

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