Carter Kieboom, 20, has been elevated to the top 10 Nationals prospects list, according to Baseball America. He was able to play 48 games for low Single-A Hagerstown in 2017. A hamstring problem and another unspecified injury kept him out of play from May 12 to July 28.
Fully healthy, 2018 is expected to be a big year for Kieboom.
No. 4 SS Carter Kieboom
At 6-foot-2 and 190 lbs., Kieboom looks like a shortstop straight out of Central Casting. He hit .296 with a .400 on-base percentage and .497 slugging percentage with the Suns, with 12 doubles, eight homers and 26 RBIs. His eight homers tied for sixth on Hagerstown and he played in less than half of their games.
Baseball America national writer Carlos Collazo said the injury only temporarily slowed down what will be an amazing run for the young shortstop.
“Carter was a guy who was having a really good season and then he had a couple of injuries that set him back a little bit,” Collazo said. “But he’s got a chance to be a middle-of-the-order kind of hitter. He’s got a chance to be a really good impact bat. Above-average hit tool, above-average power with the potential to get some plus power down the line. He is a solid runner at this point.”
Collazo said that Kieboom will likely concentrate on getting quicker on defense and building up arm strength.
“Defensively is where you are going to get into your questions with Carter. Most people think he is a shortstop,” Collazo said. “There are some guys that think he’s going to be pushed off. His defense is fringe average, 45 to 50 at this point. He’s got a solid arm and what’s going to help him out here is he’s got a really high baseball IQ from everyone I’ve talked to. He’s got great positioning, has solid hands, but he’s going to have to make up for his lack of first step quickness, really, and average arm. So he’s going to have to play smart to continue sticking at the position.”
But let’s not get away from the power and hitting potential you could see out of Kieboom.
“You look at some of these guys that don’t have the stereotypical shortstop profile in the major leagues, some of these bigger offensive type shortstops, and Carter has a chance to be just that I think,” Collazo said. “You are going to want to watch him next year and hope that he has a healthy season. But he really did pretty much everything you wanted him to do on the field, it’s just matter of getting those reps.”
Bottom line is there’s a lot of potential.
“Really exciting upside with Carter,” Collazo said. “If he can stick at short and do what he did with the bat this year at the major league level, you are going to have a really, really good player.”
And he is a legit prospect. Collazo said that Kieboom and Erick Fedde have a chance of breaking into the Baseball America top 100 prospect list next year.