— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 10, 2016
It was a pleasure talking with Alswinn Kieboom who is the patriarch of the Kieboom baseball family. His three sons were groomed to play competitive baseball, and he taught and coached all three of his sons through their youth. The Kieboom boys were all highly ranked baseball players at Walton High School in Marietta, Georgia. Alswinn and his wife were also clearly great at time management given they had three sons that often were playing at the same time. Now, two of the three Kieboom sons play in the Nationals’ system. Spencer Kieboom made his MLB debut with the Nationals this year, and Carter Kieboom was the first pick by the Nationals in this year’s draft.
“I played baseball as a boy in the Netherlands before coming to the United States where I played college baseball for Eastern Illinois,” Alswinn Kieboom said. “I was a catcher, and I had a passion for the game.”
There is that old saying that the quickest path to the pros is to be a catcher, but Alswinn Kieboom doesn’t really believe that to be accurate. He believes good players become pros.
The youngest Kieboom son, Carter Kieboom, was coached by his father for two years of travel baseball before his father retired from coaching and spent more time watching his sons from the stands. In Marietta, Georgia and the surrounding areas, the Kieboom boys were well-known as an elite baseball family.
Carter Kieboom was the Nationals first round draft pick at #28 as compensation from the Detroit Tigers for signing Jordan Zimmermann. Carter Kieboom played for the GCL Nationals this year, and slashed .244/.329/.452/.781. Spencer Kieboom played for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, and his career MiLB slash is .264/.344/.381/.724.
Spencer Kieboom went home to Georgia after the end of the Double-A season and was home for three weeks when he received the call from Mark Scialabba, Director of Minor League Operations, that he was getting called up to replace Wilson Ramos. Spencer Kieboom was on the Nats roster for 6 days with one at-bat and he drew a walk. Spencer Kieboom now owns a 1.000 OBP in the MLB.
“I realize I have to perform and nobody is going to hand anything to me,” Spencer Kieboom said. “There’s no entitlement. I have to earn everything I get.”
Unfortunately for Spencer Kieboom, he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow in 2013 which required the surgery popularly known as Tommy John. While a UCL injury is rare for a catcher, Spencer Kieboom came back strong from the surgery. While Spencer was recuperating, his brother Carter was playing in high school, and his brother Trevor was playing college baseball. As Alswinn Kieboom told us, Trevor is his most physically imposing son standing 6’4″ and 230 pounds. Trevor finished up his baseball career at University of Georgia and is now a sports agent at CSE which is a division at Cooper Holdings.
A bit of trivia on Carter Kieboom is that he is ambidextrous, and when he was younger and pitched right-handed, his fastball was clocked in the 90’s and left-handed in the mid 80’s. The youngest Kieboom was drafted as a shortstop and his scouting grades are: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 45 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
“I got away with some things in High School that I quickly noticed you don’t get away with in the pros,” Carter Kieboom said. “I have learned to make adjustments, and I got some good advice from my coaches in the GCL and Fall Instructs. I knew what I wanted to work on this off-season.”
Spencer and Carter Kieboom are part of a group of Major Leaguers and Minor Leaguers working out this off-season in Georgia where Charlie Blackmon is part of their group.
One piece of advice Spencer Kieboom carries with him is “remember what you do best”. As coaches try to tweak their players’ mechanics, Kieboom just wants to hold on to what is working well for him and do it consistently.
Surprisingly, Carter Kieboom told us that he has never been to Spring Training before. There is nothing like your first time. Spencer Kieboom will bring his brother Carter in as one of his roommates and will look after his nineteen-year-old brother.
For this Spring Training, Spencer Kieboom assured us that his rental housing in West Palm Beach must have a suitable kitchen, and he prefers a gas oven over electric for baking cakes. This year should be a big year for cake baking according to Spencer Kieboom. The best place to follow Spencer’s baking is on his Twitter on this link. This year Spencer won’t have his baking partner, Lucas Giolito, but instead Carter Kieboom will step-in as Spencer’s baking assistant. Spencer Kieboom purchased a meat smoker this off-season, and has been experimenting with different types of meats and wood chips.
We hope to follow the Kieboom brothers this spring on and off the field.