The wild card of the entire Cleveland Indians offseason, Nolan Jones could be a dark horse to take over the first base vacancy. A third baseman, Jones is blocked by Jose Ramirez at the major league level. Because of this, the Tribe asked their No. 1 prospect to play first base and outfield during the offseason in hopes of finding him a spot on the 2021 roster.
Jones would be far from the first third baseman to shift over to first for the Cleveland Indians after Jim Thome did so between the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Up until the shift in 1997, Thome had played third base almost exclusive through the minors and majors, with the exception of 40 games at shortstop during his rookie ball days. As for Jones, he’s following the same path having never played anything other than third since joining the Cleveland Indians organization, with the exception of five games at short during rookie ball.
This isn’t to say that Nolan Jones will turn into Jim Thome. Comparing any player to a Hall of Famer before they see an MLB pitch is unfair, but it rather verifies that the move is possible. The only issue for Jones is that he will be behind the eight ball in regards to the others vying for the spot. They will have had more opportunities to improve their craft, but given Jones’ upside and the drive to get him in the lineup, the Indians might be willing to sacrifice polished play for potential.