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Carter Kieboom: Nationals 2019 Minor League Player Of The Year

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Washington Nationals

The Nationals' No. 1 prospect, Carter Kieboom has consistently stood out as a 21-year-old in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2019, hitting .304/.408/.505 with 16 home runs and 75 RBIs through 372 at-bats for Fresno.

Aside from a major league stint from April 26 to May 6, Kieboom spent the entire year with the Grizzlies. Farm director Mark Scialabba said the 2016 first-round pick improved in several areas while facing experienced pitching and playing three different infield positions. As of Aug. 20, Kieboom reached base in 35 of his past 37 games and recorded six three-hit games during that same span.

"Carter’s plate discipline has evolved throughout the season, and he’s done a great job of grinding night in, night out,” Scialabba said. "He’s demonstrated the ability to hit with power to all fields and has really done a remarkable job hitting with runners on base and driving in runs all year.”

Through his first 99 games with Fresno, Kieboom drew 60 walks and struck out 89 times. The adjustments he has made in the PCL should prepare him for his next stint in Washington, where he homered in two of his first three games but slipped to .128/.209/.282 in 39 at-bats. Those major league numbers didn’t tell the whole story, as he hit the ball hard with a 90.9 mph average exit velocity.

Though Kieboom played 10 games at shortstop while Trea Turner was on the injured list for Washington, it’s unlikely there will be an opening at that position in 2020. At Fresno, Kieboom has played 59 games at shortstop, 35 games at second base and eight games at third base.

"Defensively, he’s worked tirelessly at shortstop, third base and second base to prepare for whatever opportunity arises at the major league level,” Scialabba said.

On the pitching side, lefthander Tim Cate and righthander Wil Crowe have both had impressive seasons.

Cate, a second-round pick in 2018 out of Connecticut, went 4-5, 2.82 in 70.1 innings at low Class A Hagerstown and was 4-4, 3.83 through 54 innings at high Class A Potomac. Crowe, meanwhile, who was a second-round pick in 2017 out of South Carolina, went 7-6, 3.87 in 95.1 innings for Double-A Harrisburg before earning a promotion to Fresno.

CAPITAL GAINS

— Potomac catcher Jakson Reetz had a breakout summer at the plate. He hit .345/446/.745 with five home runs in June and .333/.440/.571 with four home runs in July. His previous season high for home runs was five.

— Harrisburg catcher Tres Barrera "has made strides on both sides of the ball as well,” Scialabba said. Barrera was hitting .270/.336/.416 for the Senators while showing leadership skills, strong defense and improved power.

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2019 Minor League Players Of The Year

Baseball America writers, correspondents select MiLB Player of the Year awards for all 30 MLB organizations.

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