Cleveland Guardians prospects: 1B Jhonkensy Noel should be promoted to Akron soon
Jhonkensy Noel, the 6’1″, 180-pound first baseman in the Guardians’ farm system, should be due for a Double-A promotion soon.
The first base position has been a constant source of pain for the Cleveland Guardians ever since Carlos Santana left for the Kansas City Royals after the 2020 season.
Owen Miller’s hot start at the plate this season has helped, but prospect Jhonkensy Noel looks like the prototypical power-hitting first baseman the team is looking for. The 20-year-old is currently playing at High-A Lake County, but that likely won’t be for long, as Noel is off to another hot start at the plate, hitting .333/.381/.611 with one home run, two doubles, 5 RBIs and a spectacular 173 wRC+ in the first 18 at-bats of the young season.
Noel finished the 2021 season at Lake County as well following a promotion from Low-A Lynchburg in August, hitting .280/.351/.550 with eight home runs and a 136 wRC+ in 100 at-bats. He’s currently rocketing through the Guardians’ minor-league system, and it would be a shock if he wasn’t playing at Double-A Akron sometime in May.
Given Noel’s age, he is at least 1-2 years away from breaking into the majors, and the Guardians will likely be keeping a close eye on his strikeouts. Right now, he’s striking out just a shade under 24%, which you’ll certainly take from a big-time power hitter, especially if he’s also walking nearly 10% of the time. Double-A will certainly be a major test for the young masher, who is prone to streaks as cold as they can be sizzling, but he looks ready for it.
Thanks to Noel’s Rule 5 eligibility this past offseason, he was added to the team’s 40-man roster. The organization certainly thinks highly of their 2017 international signing, and it’s starting to look like he could soon be the team’s long-term answer at first base.