The Cleveland Guardians offense has not been the disaster some predicted before the season: far from it.
However, it can definitely improve, and should if given the chance.
After all, at 37-34, the team has become a contender for a playoff spot in 2022, perhaps unexpectedly.
The organization should be exploring every opportunity to improve, especially if the options come from within.
Enter Nolan Jones.
Before Wednesday’s games, Jones was slashing .292/.390/.462 with a homer, six doubles, and a triple in 77 plate appearances for the Guardians’ Triple-A affiliate.
Those numbers are even better now that he hit his second long ball of the season on Wednesday afternoon.
“#Guardians 24yr old OF prospect Nolan Jones is having himself a day! Jones hits an opposite field 2-run laser for his 2nd HR of the season with Columbus. He is (3-4 2R 3RBI) in the game in the 6th inning,” Guardians Prospective tweeted.
#Guardians 24yr old OF prospect Nolan Jones is having himself a day! Jones hits an opposite field 2-run laser for his 2nd HR of the season with Columbus. He is (3-4 2R 3RBI) in the game in the 6th inning.@Nolan_Jones10 @CLBClippers #ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/aGt6oPlRPv
— Guardians Prospective (@CleGuardPro) June 29, 2022
A Top 100 Prospect
Jones, an outfielder, made some top-100 prospects lists around the web and is considered one of the most promising Guardians currently in the minor leagues.
FanGraphs’ prospect evaluator Eric Longenhagen had this to say about Jones in his 2022 organizational report, in which he ranked the outfielder as the team’s fifth-best prospect:
“The huge-framed Jones puts very few balls in play, with 44% of his career plate appearances ending in either a walk or strikeout. Some of this is because he runs very deep counts. He barely offers at pitches, swinging just 40% of the time at Triple-A, which would rank among the bottom 10 qualified big leaguers in 2021. Jones hasn’t historically hit for as much power in games, but he does have huge raw strength and an athletic swing that entices one to believe he could eventually find something that works for him and generates more lift.”
Jones has a chance to develop 30-homer power, but he may need a swing change in the future.
In any case, he should run high OBPs when fully maxed out.
He is close to being ready, if he isn’t already, and could contribute to the Guardians as soon as this season.
He is definitely one to watch.