Nolan Jones, Cleveland Indians No. 3 Prospect
The first player that comes to mind is Triple-A third baseman Nolan Jones, who just recently fell from the throne as Cleveland’s top prospect. This isn’t necessarily due to any kind of regression or his talent not translating to the upper minors, but it comes down to one simple question; what are you going to do with him?
Jones is a natural third baseman, but the organization has experimented with him lightly in the outfield where his arm strength at the hot corner should translate somewhat well to a corner outfield spot.
The obvious roadblock is Tribe superstar Jose Ramirez being entrenched at third base, but regardless of the debate about where to put him in the field, there’s plenty that Jones can bring to the lineup. Through 95 games at Triple-A Columbus this year, Jones has displayed a level of patience that can’t be taught to most prospects in their age 23 season. Jones has drawn 56 walks so far, a number that would be leading the 2021 Indians in 20 fewer games than anyone else has played.
His patience is a double-edged sword, however, as Jones has struck out 119 times so far in 2021. Despite that, Jones has a .417 SLG to go with a .225 batting average, which is a bizarre combination to begin with. Almost exactly half of his hits this season (37/73) have gone for extra bases, and his 24 doubles this year would be second on the Indians to Jose Ramirez’s 26. Clearly there’s still some kinks to iron out in his approach, but the swing appears ready for a test drive against Major League pitching.