Third baseman Nolan Jones is our No. 1 Cleveland Indians prospect for 2020, improving from his No. 2 ranking he held in both 2019 and 2018.
Jones was a second round draft pick by the Tribe in 2016, making a quick impact after terrorizing the Low-A New York Penn League in 2017 with a ridiculous .317/.430/.482 slash, which earned him short season All-Star status from Baseball America.
The left-handed slugger didn’t miss a beat in 2018 in his first taste of full-season ball, maintaining an elite 16% walk rate while posting a career-high ISO thanks to 16 home runs, which earned him a late promotion to High-A Lynchburg.
Jones again impressed in the 2019 season, posting a career-high 20.1% walk rate for the Hillcats. He was named an organizational All-Star by MiLB.com, a mid-season All-Star in the Carolina League and garnered his first trip to the Futures Game, getting to play at Progressive Field for the first of hopefully many times.
The 21-year-old was promoted to Double-A after his Futures Game appearance and while his strikeout rate increased, so did his power. Jones posted a career-high ISO of .213, slugging eight home runs, 10 doubles and two triples for the RubberDucks in just 49 games while still walking 14.7% of the time.
Jones briefly participated in the Arizona Fall League, but ended his campaign early to have surgery on his thumb to repair an ulnar collateral ligament. He’s expected to have no restrictions by the time Spring Training starts.
Jones has the potential for elite on-base ability and power and while many seem to think he can’t stick at third base, he’s improved defensively at the hot corner each season. He only had six errors in 44 games at Double-A in 2019 for a career high .947 fielding percentage.
Look for Jones to begin the 2020 season in Double-A, and if he can prove himself against nearly major league-ready pitchers, he could easily be promoted to Triple-A at some point this season, although a call-up to the Show is likely not going to happen until 2021.
Tyler Freeman, SS (Age 20)
2019 (A): 272 PA, .292/.382/.424, 3 HR, 11 SB, 6.6 BB%, 10.3 K%, 138 wRC+
2019 (A+): 275 PA, .319/.354/.397, 0 HR, 8 SB, 2.9 BB%, 9.1 K%, 119 wRC+
The 2017 second rounder impressed mightily in his first taste of full-season ball. Showed improved patience early, but that tailed off after he was promoted (although strikeout rate also dropped in High-A).
Ethan Hankins, RHP (Age 19)
2019 (A-): 8 GS, 38.2 IP, 27.9 K%, 11.7 BB%, 1.20 ERA, 3.22 FIP
2019 (A): 5 GS, 21.1 IP, 29.8 K%, 12.8 BB%, 4.64 ERA, 4.28 FIP
2018 first round comp. pick blew away hitters at short season ball and earned a late promotion to full season Lake County. His strikeout rate is impressive, but he’ll need to cut down on walks as he moves through the system.
Triston McKenzie, RHP (Age 22)
Former No. 1 Indians prospect injured a muscle in his back during spring training and never pitched in the 2019 season, although he was added to the Tribe’s 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
Bo Naylor, C (Age 19)
2019 (A): 453 PA, .243/.313/.421, 11 HR, 7 SB, 9.5 BB%, 23.0 K%, 110 wRC+
The 2018 first round draft pick skipped Low-A entirely and debuted in full-season ball in 2019. After a slow start, put up above average numbers, including posting double digit home runs, triples and doubles as a catcher.
George Valera, OF (Age 19)
2019 (A-): 188 PA, .236/.356/.446, 8 HR, 6 SB, 15.4 BB%, 27.7 K%, 142 wRC+
2019 (A): 26 PA, .087/.192/.174, 0 HR, 0 SB, 7.7 BB%, 34.6 K%, 14 wRC+
Struggled to make consistent contact but posted elite on-base and power numbers in short season ball, earning a late promotion to full season Lake County
Who should be the No. 2 Indians prospect?
This poll is closed