If the Nationals wanted to use the Arizona Fall League to determine how close Carter Kieboom is to playing in Washington, they likely emerged feeling pretty good about their top infield prospect’s development.
Kieboom wrapped up a strong AFL season Saturday by contributing to both of the Salt River Rafters’ runs during their heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Peoria Javelinas in the league’s championship game.
The 21-year-old infielder was hit by a pitch and proceeded to score in the top of the second for Salt River’s first run of the game. He also singled in the fourth to help set up another run.
All of that left Kieboom with a .295 batting average, .427 on-base percentage and 18 runs in 21 AFL games over the last month. He also drew 17 walks to lead the league.
Perhaps most notable was that Kieboom saw considerable action at second base while in Arizona. Though he’s a natural shortstop, the Nationals have been wanting to see how he handled second base in anticipation of their more pressing need at the big league level.
Kieboom committed four errors during the AFL season but turned two double plays during Saturday’s championship game.
That game ended in heartbreak for the Rafters, who held a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth before giving up the tying runs to the Javelinas. Braves prospect Braxton Davidson then won it in the bottom of the 10th with a walk-off homer off Nationals lefty Taylor Guilbeau (though the dramatic homer proved costly for Davidson, who injured his left foot while rounding the bases and had to be taken for X-rays).