NL Notes: Nationals, Third Base, Coaching Announcements, Reds, Cubs (www.mlbtraderumors.com)

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The Nationals have no qualms about Carter Kieboom as their starting third baseman despite an alarming lack of power, writes Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com. The 23-year-old has produced a meager .051 ISO over his first 165 plate appearances, including just a solitary double in 122 plate appearances in 2020. Kieboom hit 16 home runs in 2019 at Triple-A with a respectable .189 ISO, and Fangraphs gives him a 55-potential in-game power grade on a 20-80 scale. The Nationals believe the power will come. Luis Garcia, the Nats’ top offensive prospect after Kieboom, was rushed to the Majors in 2020, but he does not appear to be in serious consideration for an everyday role on the 2020 roster, notes Zuckerman. Starlin Castro enters camp as the starter at second base, while Josh Harrison lines up as the primary backup at all three non-first-base infield spots. The Nationals aren’t famous for boasting tremendous depth, though they do have non-roster invitees Jordy Mercer, Adrián Sanchez, and Hernán Pérez also in camp. Let’s check in on some coaching announcements in the National League…

  • Jose Moreno, the Manager of the Year in the Venezuelan Winter League this season, will take over as manager for the High-A Dayton Dragons in the Reds’ system, per the Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans (via Twitter) and a press release from Dayton. It will be Moreno’s second season with the Reds after spending 19 years in the Seattle Mariners’ organization. As the Dragons make the move from Low-A to High-A, they’ll do so with with Darren Bragg, Brian Garman, and Daryle Ward on Moreno’s staff as a development coach, pitching coach, and hitting coach, respectively. Ward returns as the Dragons hitting coach after serving in the same role with the club in 2016 and 2017. Garman, meanwhile, was hired for the 2020 season before the cancellation.
  • The Cubs announced their minor league coaches and coordinators for the 2021 season today. Among the additions, Dustin Kelly has taken over as minor league hitting coordinator after three seasons as a hitting coach in the Dodgers’ organization. He played three seasons in the minors after being drafted in 2004 by the Red Sox. Kelly replaces Chris Valaika, who was promoted to assistant hitting coach for the big league club, notes the Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma (via Twitter).



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