Cleveland Guardians sent Nolan Jones back to Triple-A but it wasn’t shocking.
After watching fans lose their minds for nearly two days, it was time to speak up about the perplexing send-down of Nolan Jones. While some fans thought that the young rookie being sent down didn’t make sense, Jones has struggled.
This shouldn’t be surprising, Jones has never shown the competency at the plate that the Guardians had hoped he would. By no means is he ‘”done” as a prospect, as a .240 hitter in the Major Leagues isn’t everyday common.
Yet, if you’ve been watching his play in the minors over the course of his career, you know he isn’t a contact-heavy hitter. His career average is a .275, and generally speaking, you need to knock off 10-15 points off a batting average when you call someone up. So Jones was always destined to struggle, and only got called up because he was on a hot streak. Not because he was showing consistency.
Jones has not hit over .250 in Double or Triple-A. Inconsistency was destined to happen for him. I’m not sure why more people don’t value the “eye” test and actually look at a player’s performances in the minors, it’s usually a direct indication if they’ll struggle in the majors.
Nolan Jones’ struggles and Steven Kwan’s success was predictable
When you look at the Guardians, you have the highly touted prospect Jones, and the guy no one knew the name of before May in Steven Kwan. Both rookies, both with vastly different paths to the Majors.
Jones struggled in Double and Triple-A, Kwan on the other hand literally has never struggled in his baseball life. In his life, dating back to his sophomore year in high school, Kwan has only hit below .300 twice. All he doe is hit.
When Jones struggled for the last two months, the coaching staff knew he needed more time. He clearly needed more time, to look at his struggles in Akron and Columbus. Kwan, on the other hand, succeeded at the plate at every level, so his cold streak in mid to late May was just that. A streak of misfortune.
He was always going to hit out of it. It’s what he does. It’s why his career trajectory is looking more and more like Michael Brantley’s. Another outfielder in the Cleveland system that most people overlooked, but shouldn’t have.
Scouts rave about guys all the time, but it’s always their arms, or their power, rarely ever do you see a guy pointing at production. Maybe that’s because they know that talent fluctuates so much in the minors that it’s hard to get a gauge on someone, but I would argue that seeing someone do the job well is a far more reliable evaluation process than a guy who has great “attributes”.
Jones has great attributes but he hasn’t put it together.
That’s why Kwan is in Rookie of the Year talk, but Jones is going back to Triple-A.