The Washington Nationals were able to overcome a disastrous start that once saw them sitting 12 games under at 19-31. Washington is now 74-58, five games back of the Atlanta Braves for the NL East, and currently, hold the first wildcard spot. They have a three-game lead over the Chicago Cubs who own the second wildcard. They also have a five-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies. Despite the turnaround, Washington is going to need to reach another level if they want to overtake the Braves, or to make sure they hold onto the wildcard.
The good news is that on Sunday, MLB rosters expand from 25 to 40. Now teams aren’t required to call up 15 players, but it doesn’t hurt. Washington now has the chance to add bench pieces as well as bullpen arms to help the team in their hunt for October. But who should the Nationals call up? Here are two players Washington should call up to help the team in their playoff race.
Carter Kieboom is the Nationals top prospect and the second baseman of the future. Kieboom was called up at the end of April and played in 11 games with the team. Unfortunately, Kieboom faltered in his first call up and hit a measly .128, with two home runs, and struck out 16 times in 39 at-bats. He also looked lost in the field as he committed 4 errors. Kieboom was sent back down to Triple-A and he rebounded nicely. He hit .305 with 16 home runs, and 78 RBI’s in 105 games.
Despite Kieboom’s struggles in his stint in the majors, Mark Scialabba, the Nationals’ director of player development wasn’t phased. He had this to say about the youngster. “What you saw here in D.C. is not an accurate description of who he is on defense,” “He is getting more reps at third base, second and at short. It is important he gets reps at other positions.” Kieboom has had time to regain his confidence and work on his defense. Kieboom can come in and pinch-hit when needed and prove to everyone that he is the future.
Greg Holland and Washington agreed to a minor league deal after the three-time All-Star was cut by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since then he has been playing for Double-A Harrisburg. In seven appearances with Harrisburg this year, Holland is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, and seven strikeouts. Holland can help boost a Nationals bullpen that has a 5.87 ERA. That is good for second worse in the majors, only better than the Baltimore Orioles. Holland can come in and help solidify the seventh and eighth inning. At the same time, he has 206 career saves and can help give Sean Doolittle some extra rest. If Washington can fix Holland for two straight years, then they found themselves an excellent reliever for the playoff push and beyond.
Feature Image From NBC Sports.
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