Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo explained, in the immediate aftermath of the injury to Trea Turner’s index finger on his right hand earlier this month, why he wasn’t going to bring Carter Kieboom, the top infield prospect in the organization, up right away to play shortstop in Turner’s absence.
“We don’t feel that he’s ready to play shortstop in the big leagues on an everyday level at this time,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies in an April 3rd interview.
“We’ve seen this before. A couple years ago Trea got hit on the wrist and was out for a couple months and [Wilmer] Difo filled in and he played great, so we feel that he’s a very, very capable reinforcement over there at shortstop.
“He can really play the position defensively, he’s got good speed as you know, and throws really well, and when he played every day in Trea’s absence he was much more consistent at the plate and had a good year for us. So that’s what we’re hoping to do. We want to get Boomer some more reps at shortstop and second base in Triple-A and he’s not too far away, but he’s just not ready just yet.”
Difo has put up a .246/.316/.362 line with two doubles, two home runs, seven walks, and 17 Ks in 20 games, 19 starts, and 77 plate appearances since taking over at short for Turner in the first week of April.
With an injury to Anthony Rendon, who was hit on the left elbow during the road trip which wrapped up on Wednesday, however, and with the Nats treading water thus far, with an 11-12 record overall after going 2-4 in Miami and Colorado, Rizzo and Co. in the front office apparently have decided that Kieboom can help.
Both Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty and MASN’s Mark Zuckerman are reporting that Kieboom is expected to join the Nats before the start of this weekend’s three-game series with the San Diego Padres in the nation’s capital.
Citing “multiple people with knowledge of the situation”, Dougherty wrote this afternoon that Kieboom is on his way from Triple-A Fresno to D.C., though how the Nationals plan to make room on the 40-Man roster for Kieboom’s addition is unclear.
In 18 games and 83 PAs for the Fresno Grizzlies this season, Kieboom has six doubles, a triple, three home runs, 16 walks, 20 Ks, and a .379/.506/.636 line.
Kieboom, 21, and a 1st Round pick in 2016, talked this winter about the fact that Rizzo had mentioned his name as part of the depth in the organization that could make an impact in the near future.
“It always feel good when you receive that sort of positive attention,” Kieboom said.
“I think as a player that’s kind of what you hope for in an organization — that they believe in you and they trust in you, and I definitely feel like they have that trust in me up to this point. And I hope to just continue to play well and take care of everything that I need to take care of.”
He’s put up impressive numbers at Triple-A thus far, and the Nationals apparently believe he is ready to help out at the major league level, because Kieboom is on his way to join up with the team in time for tomorrow’s game.