2 former Cleveland Guardians who are struggling in 2024

The Cleveland Guardians have parted ways with prospects who have done well with other teams, though two of them are off to rough starts in 2024.
Colorado Rockies v Philadelphia Phillies
Colorado Rockies v Philadelphia Phillies / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The Cleveland Guardians offense is absolutely humming to start the 2024 season, which makes last season already feel like an eternity ago. That holds especially true for a few former prospects that were playing well on other teams and driving fans absolutely crazy.

I'm talking, of course, about Nolan Jones and Will Benson.

As the Cleveland offense struggled mightily last year, both Jones and Benson blossomed with Colorado and Cincinnati, respectively. Jones finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, as Cleveland's 2016 second-round pick crushed at Coors Field to the tune of a .297/.389/.542 line with 20 home runs, 22 doubles, 20 stolen bases, 61 RBI, and a 140 OPS+ in 424 plate appearances.

Jones, who is currently battling a back injury, has struggled out of the game this season to a .148/.219/.250 slash line with one home run, seven RBI, and 36 strikeouts in 96 plate appearances.

As for Benson, he's had a little more success this season, hitting three home runs and seven doubles, driving in eight. He is currently maintaining a 94 OPS+ despite striking out 36% of the time. It'll be hard to have sustained success while striking out that much, and right now Benson is slashing .195/.290/.430, but he does give the Reds a powerful left-handed bat in their lineup, even if he did just come off a three-strikeout day Thursday.

Still, his start is a far cry from his own 2023 campaign, in which he hit .275/.365/.498 with 11 home runs, 15 doubles, 19 stolen bases, and a 130 OPS+ in 329 plate appearances.

There is still of course plenty of time to turn things around for both players. We often get caught up in the short-term results, always failing to remind ourselves of the long grind that is the MLB season. That being said, things often have a way of evening out with players, and there's a good chance the ultimate value of Jones and Benson fall somewhere in the middle of their starkly contrasting years.

The Guardians are still looking for viable long-term solutions in both center and right field, but for now, the blows of losing Jones and Benson sting just a little bit less.