The Nationals have a gaping hole at third base after Anthony Rendon's departure, but Davey Martinez believes No. 1 prospect Carter Kieboom can assume the mantle and hold it down.
Martinez gave an update on Kieboom's development at third base Tuesday morning on The Sports Junkies.
“Hey, I said this earlier this winter, Carter Kieboom comes into spring training having the third base job," Martinez told The Junkies. "He’s gotta earn it, but it’s his job, and I truly believe that. This kid’s special."
"He put up really good numbers in the minor leagues," he said. "He is learning a new position. He’s been working diligently every morning with (bench coach) Tim Bogar and (third base coach) Chip Hale on learning how to play the position. He’s gonna hit, his feet work, so it’s just a matter of just getting him out there and getting his reps.
"With that being said, somewhere along the line – whether it’s breaking camp – Carter Kieboom will be our third baseman."
Kieboom has played at third-base in all six of the Nats' spring training games.
"So you think he’s gonna be Opening Day third baseman," Junkies host Jason Bishop asked.
"As of right now, it’s his job to lose," Martinez said.
Asked for the most challenging part of Kieboom's transition to third, Martinez pointed to playing the game from different angles.
"I think it’s the angles. His footwork, setting and throwing," he said. "Right now we’re finding out that just him going left to right, making those throws across the diamond, that’s the issue."
"It’s not the glove," Eric Bickel said.
"No, his glove is straight," Martinez confirmed. "He’s good. I mean, like I said, it’s something that he’s learning every day. He seems like, even in our drills that we do with him, he’s getting a lot better. He’s getting that fluidity that we look for."