All signs point to Carter Kieboom beginning the year in the minor leagues. All but gifted the third base job this year, he was unable to maintain a stronghold on the position by hitting a putrid .133 this spring. In the next few days expect to see him jettisoned to the minor leagues.
Kieboom needs to play every day to get his hitting groove back, and this will not happen at the big league level. It can’t happen, for the Washington Nationals to put their best lineup on the field day in and day out. With the spring Josh Harrison has had (hitting .419 with a couple of home runs), he seems destined to begin the year at the hot corner. Starlin Castro auditioned at third base earlier in the week, though tweeked his hamstring.
The Nationals entered spring training with Kieboom penciled in as the third bagger. They are now scrambling to see who to pencil in there coming Opening Day.
As the Nationals make decisions, Jake Noll seems to be as roster casualty as Carter Kieboom struggles this spring training.
Seldom used infielder Jake Noll currently holds a spot on the 40-man roster. Noll, a 27 year-old corner infielder, was one of the first cuts during spring training this year. Over the past two years he has accumulated just 30 pate appearances in the majors.
Had Kieboom hit this spring and given the Nationals reason to run him out every day once the season started, Noll could keep his roster spot and play in the minors, waiting his turn as organizational depth.
With Kieboom all but assured to start the year at AAA Rochester, Hernan Perez figures to get a longer look at breaking camp with the team. Perez has hit .303 in limited time this spring, with nine singles and a double in 33 at-bats. His power, nor his offensive contributions are what the Nationals are eyeballing when they determine if Perez finds his way on the active roster. It’s his flexibility.
While Noll plays the corner infield positions only, Perez plays all positions. Infield, outfield, reliever, he can do it all. Perez is in camp as a non-roster invitee. Going north with the team requires a roster spot. The one currently held down by Jake Noll.
As we await the fallout of Kieboom’s struggles at the plate this spring, the domino effect does not seem to be in Jake Noll’s favor.