Nolan Jones, TBD
If Jones gets significant time in the outfield this offseason, it will likely be in the outfield. However, it might take a little while until we see the Tribe’s No. 2 ranked prospect in uniform this season.
The outfield got stronger with the signing of Eddie Rosario. He, along with Josh Naylor, are 2/3 of a starting outfield. How much Naylor will play first base remains undetermined, which leaves open the possibility of Jones in the corner.
Plus, the Indians boast a ton of outfielders with question marks next to their names and they’ve got to figure out if these players can be every-day contributors at the big-league level.
One of those players is Jake Bauers. He’s out of options, so this is it. If he doesn’t make the team, he’ll either be traded, or there’s the chance Cleveland can move him through waivers.
After Bauers, there’s Jordan Luplow, Bradley Zimmer, Oscar Mercado, Daniel Johnson.
Luplow was awful last season. His calling card was hitting lefties, but he couldn’t even do that. Oscar Mercado seriously regressed, as well. Was this a result of the craziness that was 2020? These players will have to prove it in the early months of this season.
Johnson is a player I’d like to see more of. He was acquired in the Yan Gomes deal with the National and has hit just north of .300 in his minor-league career.
As for Jones, some time to incubate in the minors won’t hurt. He’s never played at Triple A and barely played at Double-A. His biggest flaw may be hitting lefties. In 250 plate appearances against lefties, he slashed .167/.315/.286 with a 36 percent K rate. Not good.