WASHINGTON - This has been a rough season at the plate for third baseman Carter Kieboom, whom the Nationals were counting on to take over for the departed Anthony Rendon.
There was no way Kieboom, 23, would put up the offensive numbers that Rendon did during his career in Washington. But Kieboom, drafted as a shortstop out of a Georgia high school in 2016, has not come close.
He is hitting .206 in 97 at-bats with just one extra-base hit, a double. Last year, his first in the majors, Kieboom hit .129 with two homers in 39 at-bats. Rendon is batting .277 with nine homers for the Angels after blasting 34 homers with 126 RBI last season for Washington.
So would winter ball help Kieboom?
“We are going to sit down; we will talk to him,” manager Dave Martinez said Monday before a home game with Philadelphia. “I am going to suggest he go get more at-bats. Winter ball is not for everybody. We will see. Some guys like to take time off and get on a regimen. We will see after I speak to him and go from there.”
Kieboom, for the most part, has been solid at third base this year.
The Nationals have used the shift more often in 2020, and that means at times Kieboom finds himself on the opposite side of the infield.
He played 10 games at shortstop for the Nationals in 2019 when Trea Turner was out with an injury early in the season.
Kieboom spent most of last year at Triple-A Fresno, where he played in just 10 games at third base while appearing in 62 games at shortstop and 41 at second base.
The right-handed hitter, whose brother Spencer is a former catcher for Washington, hit .303 with 16 homers last season at Fresno.
Martinez plans to have exit meetings with every player and many of the younger ones will be provided a workout program.
“They will get on it as soon as they are ready to start their winter program,” he said.
“We want strength, we really don’t want bulk,” Martinez said of players in general. “I want to see these guys light on their feet. We want to make sure their hips are flexible, especially the guys on the infield.”