The Cleveland Indians announced the addition of Nolan Jones to its spring training roster on Monday morning.
The Indians are inviting third baseman Nolan Jones to Major League camp. He had surgery on his thumb in October and is ahead of schedule in his rehab. The team wanted to reward him for his hard work by extending him a non-roster invite.— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) February 24, 2020
Monday vibes: Top prospect and 2019 Game Futures Game rep Nolan Jones has been invited to Big League Camp! pic.twitter.com/JlDwIdNPW7— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) February 24, 2020
Jones is regarded as a top prospect in all of baseball, coming in at 37 on MLB Pipeline’s top 100. The Indians drafted him in the second round of the 2016 MLB draft. After spending 2016 in rookie ball and 2017 at Low-A Mahoning Valley, Jones bashed his way to High-A Lynchburg in 2018 and Double-A Akron by the end of last season. He’s displayed excellent plate discipline during his ascent, sporting an overall slash of 283/.409/.448.
Whether or not Jones factors into the Indians’ plans after spring training remains to be seen, though it seems unlikely that he’d break with the major league club without a monstrous spring. Jones remains 21-years-old and is yet to play at the Triple-A level.
One thing to keep an eye on is where the Indians elect to play Jones. While he’s a third baseman by trade, there is some grumbling around the game that he’s more likely to float to left or right field long-term. Whether you believe his glove is ready for the hot corner or not, you should root for Jones to earn reps at third and do well. His patience and power at third might be the best overall skillset, excepting José Ramírez, since ... oh my god. Matt Williams, maybe?
I’m not sure if that speaks more to Jones’ skill or the relative dearth of talent at third base for the Indians over the years, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m rooting for Nolan Jones to kill it this spring.