With Spring Training in full swing it is time to see how the players from the Kingdom of the Netherlands will do in the upcoming season. Of course there is no crystal ball and it is still up in the air, but in general you can make a decent prediction based on the performance of previous years.
Spencer Kieboom is a 24-year old catcher from Dutch decent. His father is Dutch born and played for Dutch Hoofdklasse club HCAW from Bussum. Spencer was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the fifth round of the 2012 amateur draft. He started playing in 2012 as he was added to the roster of the Auburn DoubleDays of the New York-Penn League (A Short Season). The Clemson Alumn struggled a bit at the plate in his first season. The Nats sent him down to the GCL Nationals in 2013, where his BA jumped to .333 from the .258 in the NY-Penn League. This move followed a stint on the DL in 2013. Spencer was selected to be on the preliminary roster of the Dutch team during the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but because of this injury he could not participate.
At the start of the 2014 season, Spencer was placed on the roster of the Hagerstown Suns (A Full Season South Atlantic League). He had a good season in which he batted .309 with a .352 OBP and a .500 slugging percentage. On the defensive side he did very well too as he threw out 40% of the potential base stealers. But also in the 2014 season, he was hit by the injury bug, that cost him a substantial part of the season. At the end of the 2014 season the Nats sent him to the Arizona Fall League and placed him on their 40-man roster. By the time he was in the top 20 of Nationals’ prospects.
In 2015, Spencer also missed a substantial part of the season due to injuries. In 71 games with the Potomac Nationals, he hit only .248 but his defense was good as usual, again throwing out 40% of the potential base stealers.
So what can we expect from Spencer in 2016? If Spencer can stay healthy he will be putting up some nice numbers, especially with his defense. At bat it remains to be seen how he will hit. As said before he missed a substantial part of the 2015 season due to injuries, if he had played all season he might have hit better. The level between A Full Season and A Advanced is not THAT big after all. Anyhow, that the Nationals have invited him to Spring Training for the second year in a row, means that they still have faith in him. Even if his BA won’t hover around .300 he can still be very important to the team as his defense is very solid. In 2014 he posted a .997 fielding percentage and last year this was a bit lower but still very respectfull: .991.
Expect Spencer to start the season at AA Harrisburg. Quite often the real talents jump from AA to the Majors. But so far, he has spent time on the DL quite a bit in his short career. His stint on the DL in 2015 was because of a concussion. One may start to think that he is rather injury prone. And that may be his Achilles heel.