Possessing big-time bat speed, a keen eye, and a preternatural ability to barrel baseballs, the Georgia prep product slipped down draft boards last June despite displaying one of the better hit tools in the draft class due to some teams’ concerns over his ability to stick at shortstop, and doubts that the power would play at a corner-infield position should a move become necessary. Washington took advantage of the conservative market, popping Kieboom with the 28th overall pick of the 2016 MLB Draft and inking the former Clemson commit to an under-slot $2 million deal. In return, Kieboom has rewarded the Nats with a blistering start this year, slashing .333/.402/.590 through 27 games and 117 plate appearances.
Kieboom was particularly abusive towards Sally League arms over his past three series, slashing .385/.415/.821 and launching four dingers and five doubles over 41 plate appearances. The in-game power production, both recently and over the course of the full season, is a positive sign, though the pop is still largely geared to the pull side, and projection of the tool remains closer to 50/55 than a true plus weapon. Defensively, Kieboom remains a mixed bag at shortstop. He’ll regularly flex above-average arm strength to go with solid range and hands, but also displays a lack of fluidity at times in his lower half, impacting his ability to finish at the margins of his zone and periodically detracting from the accuracy on his throws.
Because of the bat speed and his ability to make loud contact across the zone, it’s easy to envision Kieboom as at least a significant doubles threat at maturity, once he learns to drive the opposite-field gap more effectively. That, combined with over-the-fence power to the pull side and a chance for a true plus hit tool, would make him a first-division regular regardless of his ultimate position.