Nolan Jones, 3B/OF, Cleveland Indians
I mean, who else did you think I was going to put here? Nolan Jones is Cleveland’s top prospect, a second round pick in the vaunted 2016 draft class that has already produced Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac.
Like Arias, Jones has climbed the ranks of the Indians’ farm system quickly, jumping to Triple-A in 2021 after not playing at all in 2020 and having just 49 games at the Double-A level in 2019. His bat has yet to flash it’s full potential with Columbus, but at just 23-years old there’s plenty to be excited about.
Jones displays a level of patience at the plate that can’t be taught, registering an impressive 14.6% walk rate in Triple-A this season. He’s drawn 44 walks this season, helping balloon his slash line to .219/.346/.419, but his eye needs to improve alongside his incredible patience since he has a 37.5% strikeout rate this season.
Despite the low batting average in 2021, Jones still boasts an impeccable .419 SLG with 31 of his 55 hits on the season going for extra bases (21 doubles and nine home runs).
The issue the Indians have run into with Jones is what do you do with him at the big league level? Jose Ramirez has been the de facto third baseman for quite some time now, and the team has experimented with Jones in the outfield in the minors playing 22 games in right field for the Clippers this season.
There are several options for Jones should he get the call in September, but the leader in the clubhouse is probably playing the majority of his time at a corner outfield spot to learn the quirks of Progressive Field as best he can.
Jose Ramirez can more than likely step in at second base and play borderline Gold Glove defense, but the sheer amount of second baseman knocking on the door in the minors, plus the two already splitting time there now point to Jones being the right fielder of the future.
His arm strength from third base should translate nicely as long as he learns to track fly balls quickly, but regardless of what position he plays it’s long overdue for Jones to get a chance this season.