Washington Nationals: Who’s winning the third base competition?

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Washington Nationals waits on deck against the Houston Astros during the fourth inning in Game One of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Washington Nationals waits on deck against the Houston Astros during the fourth inning in Game One of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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JUPITER, FL – FEBRUARY 25: Carter Kieboom #8 of the Washington Nationals warms up before a Grapefruit League spring training game against the St Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium on February 25, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. The Nationals defeated the Cardinals 9-6. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL – FEBRUARY 25: Carter Kieboom #8 of the Washington Nationals warms up before a Grapefruit League spring training game against the St Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium on February 25, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. The Nationals defeated the Cardinals 9-6. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Carter Kieboom

Carter Kieboom, 22, the younger brother of former Nationals catcher Spencer Kieboom, is becoming a bit of a household name for Nationals fans and prospect followers. His permanent arrival at the big league level is very near, expected sometime in 2020, but his .233 batting average in 14 games this Spring, didn’t help his chances of breaking camp with the big-league club.

The prospect dipped his toes in the big leagues last year following shortstop Trea Turner’s finger injury. He didn’t stay long as he struggled to stand his ground against top-level pitching, hitting just .128 while striking out 16 times in 43 plate appearances. On the defensive side, Kieboom’s performance was also less-than-stellar… to the tune of four errors in just ten games played at shortstop.

While his natural position is shortstop, it’s unlikely he sees much time there in the majors while Turner is on the roster and healthy. In Washington, he’ll see regular time at second or third base, depending on which is the bigger need at the time of his promotion. For context, Kieboom has played 2,649 innings in the minors, with nearly 84 percent of those coming at shortstop. He’s played 345 innings at second with a .969 fielding percentage and six errors while holding down third base for just 82 innings with four errors on 32 defensive chances.

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