WASHINGTON -- One of Carter Kieboom’s first experiences at Nationals Park came in the Futures Game last summer, when Washington hosted Team USA’s 10-6 victory over the World squad. Even though Kieboom struck out in both of his at-bats, getting the experience of a big league clubhouse and playing in a game against the best of his peers were highlights for him.
Kieboom is going to get his second chance at the game next month, when he represents the Nationals as their lone representative in the 2019 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on July 7 at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Kieboom, the club’s top prospect and MLB Pipeline’s 21st overall, made his big league debut with the Nationals in April, belting a homer in his first game and following it up with another two days later. His hot start did not continue, however, and Kieboom scuffled both at the plate -- where he posted a slash line of .128/.209/.282 with 16 strikeouts and four walks in 43 plate appearances -- and in the field -- four errors in 10 games at shortstop.
He has raked since returning to Triple-A Fresno, however, and in 61 games there is batting .311/.428/.589 with 13 homers. He also ranks in the top 25 in all of Minor League baseball in OPS (1.017) and on-base percentage.
This will be the first time the Futures Game will feature an American League vs. National League format instead of the traditional U.S. vs. World format from the past 20 years. Kieboom will play under four-time All-Star pitcher Dennis Martinez as the manager of the NL team, while Hall of Fame slugger Jim Thome will head the AL team.
Martinez says Rendon feeling OK
Since returning from the injured list for a left elbow contusion on May 7, Nats third baseman Anthony Rendon has started in 48 straight games, including Saturday evening against the Tigers. But in a few instances during this stretch, Rendon has appeared to be running at less than 100 percent, especially coming out of the batter's box on grounders.
Nats manager Dave Martinez insisted that Rendon is not battling the effects of an injury, however, but just trying to preserve his body at times on the field.
"He's good," Martinez said. "I say this all the time -- when you get guys like that that just play constantly every single day and you don't take him out of the lineup, there's times where I just tell him, 'You get a base hit, a base hit is a base hit, you're not going to get a double, you're not going to stretch a double, just be smart about what you do.' ... He's been smart, we need him on the field every day, so he's just trying to be smart."