Nationals Baseball: Offseason Position Discussion : Second Base

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Offseason Position Discussion : Second Base

 Last Year's Discussion

My thinking was Kieboom was going to get his play - and probably at 2nd - with a solid back-up while Asdrubal manned 3rd.  But they signed probably the best "back-up" in Castro and flipped the script putting Castro as a full-time starter and Kieboom splitting time with AsCab.  Part of this might have been the Nats excitement over Luis Garcia. 

That excitement got to be tested early as Castro would go down in mid August. September was a glimpse of the future with Kieboom and Garcia both in the lineup.  How'd it go? Ehhhh...

Luis Garcia was not good. But that's ok! Luis Garcia wasn't terrible for a barely 20 year old having his first cup of coffee. In terms of getting base hits he was pretty decent. It's just everything else that failed him showing limited power and little patience. But he didn't strike out too much so the expectation is that he'll grow into the role. All last year showed is he's not Juan Soto (which did disappoint some hoping he was going to be like a 90% Soto) 

Kieboom on the other hand WAS terrible even considering he was barely 23. You lose a lot of leeway in those three years and hasn't shown anything at the major league level.  Ok that isn't true. Last year Kieboom was proficient at taking walks and got himself an OBP that was ok. But nothing else worked - he didn't hit, when he did hit it went nowhere (1 XBH), strike outs were better but still too high, and his fielding wasn't stellar though he was learning a new position.  It was so bad the Nats did "send him down" to get his head on straight. He was brought back (bye bye Difo!) and played until a bruised hand benched him for the last week.  Maaaaybe he was marginally better.

Presumed Plan: Luis Garcia keeps playing second.  Castro shifts to play a mix of first and third depending on who they sign and how they feel about Kieboom.

Reasoning on Presumed Plan: Garcia was better than Kieboom and while not good, he was good enough at 20, to see what he'd do at 20/21 in 2021 (HEY! LOOK AT THAT! THE 2000 BABIES ARE HERE!). You could probably make up some reason to keep him down at the start of next year that wouldn't be too crazy but the Nats have never been that type of team. Once guys are up they are up and get their chances (see: too many 5th starters that could have been cycled through faster). Castro is too good not to play and he obviously won't play SS, so that leaves 3B and 1B.  If the Nats want to give Kieboom a full year you stick Castro at 1B. If not, or if you want to be pragmatic about both Kieboom and Garcia's chances of sticking, you keep Castro at 3B at least splitting time.

Problems with Presumed Plan: Simply put - Garcia and Kieboom could both suck. They were bad and terrible at the plate last year respectively, and there's no reason to expect a huge turn around. It could happen, yes. But neither of these guys were undeniable minor league stars (and even those types sometimes don't click).  Most likely they improve slightly which makes Garcia a second Robles in 2021 and Kieboom barely hanging on to a spot. That isn't great.

If they both suck and you've committed to both of them (with Castro at 1B) the Nats are likely sunk.  A three batter hole (if not more) at the end of the line-up is hard to overcome.  If they both suck and you've kept Castro in a floating role then you can shift him in as needed but you'd still have one guy in the line-up that shouldn't be there. I know Harrison has signed but he's past his prime and isn't a full time guy

My take:  Committing to seeing what you have with two youngsters in sort of overlapping positions is hard for the reasons I state above.  A lot of building teams find themselves caught in these traps.  But what are the Nats going to do. These are the two hitting prospects the Nats are counting on to fill gaps. They have really nothing else in a minor league system that is both kind of weak and pitching heavy. The sooner they figure out what these guys are the sooner they can plan out the "Soto is Cheap" future of the next few years.  This is far from ideal but it's necessary.  

If the Nats really want to be sure they can sign a 1B (see those ideas a few posts ago). They have Castro here. They brought back Harrison. The back-ups are in place. Commit to a 1B solution that isn't Castro/Harrison and that's probably the best the Nats can do.


billyhacker said...

What is Kieboom's upside? Slightly below league average? What does a year of that cost? Gyorko or Lamb could probably be had for less than $4 million (maybe $2) for a year. While Kieboom would be valuable as a below average 3rd baseman, he's not even replacement level now. It's funny that the Nats already have two of the better below average 1st and 3rd types in Harrison and Cabrera.

Agree that seeing what Garcia has in his age 21 year is worth some risk.

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

The frustrating thing about Kieboom is COVID. It's not like they can send him down to AA/AAA to get reps in. He very clearly has the talent but looks SO hopelessly lost at the plate. I can't remember a batter that looked as legitimately scared as he does when hitting. It's the exact opposite of what we had in Rendon.

I think your presumed plan is probably right Harper. You gotta sign a 1B (platoon or full time) and have Castro/Garcia/Kieboom be a rotating platoon. But it's definitely a challenging option and could backfire tremendously

Harper said...

bh - although it feels like he's been around he hasn't had too many PAs so I'd still give him an upside of above average but with a lower top. Probably a long ok career would be the best hope.

He's probably going to be below league average though and you probably can replace that for a couple million with something... I guess more sure to be below league average and closer to league average. So if you just want to win that's the play. But ultimately that's going to cost you a win or two

CP - I'm not sure I feel Davey as a platoon genius. He feels to me like a rallier when stuck with a certain set of circumstances. So I'm not sure he can make it work. I don't know about tremendous backfire - unless for some reason Garcia gets stuck up here and not playing.

blovy8 said...

I think Castro is pencilled in at second, Garcia starts the year in the minors, and Harrison backs up there. That’s what DM prefers and it appears that he is getting that leeway for now. The Nats will say all the right things about Kieboom, but his 2021 situation is probably going to look a lot less favorable than 2020 did. His good batting eye isn’t enough to keep the Nats from acquiring another veteran infielder or trading for Bryant, even though he appears to be headed for a big arbitration payday. I can’t see his value getting any lower either way.

Nattydread said...

Not satisfying. A deal needs to be made. Another impact bat is needed at first, third or in the outfield. Shop Kieboom and spare parts. Must be someone who saw what the Nats saw. Soto needs protection from a Rendon-level smart-eyed bat. Rizzo will do something --- maybe a major shake-up.

Oliverking said...

Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga
group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
Please let me know. Thanks4K YouTube To MP3
Express VPN
HD tune pro
utorrent pro
Adguard premium

Areeba Malik said...

Your article so very wonderful ….this article is perfect to complete guide for niche blogging. Keep it up.
Office 365 Product Keys

Office 2016 Product Keys

Driver finder



Good day! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO?
I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords
but I’m not seeing very good success. If you know of any please share.
microsoft office 2007 keys
Easeus Data Recovery
Windows 7 activator
4k video downloader
Microsoft office 365
Windows 10 activator
xforce keygen