Hot Stove season is truly upon us. The Cleveland Guardians, in preparation for the Rule 5 draft on December 7, are already making preliminary roster moves to shuffle around their 40-man roster. And another domino has fallen, after the Guardians traded away former number-one prospect Nolan Jones to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for infielder Juan Brito.
Jones, the 55th overall pick of the 2016 MLB Draft, was once one of the most coveted prospects in the entire league. Back in 2020, he was the Guardians’ number one prospect, highly touted due to his elite ability to get on base in the minors that should only accentuate his considerable bat speed. However, it just hasn’t worked out for Jones, who missed substantial time due to thumb and ankle injuries.
The Guardians called up Nolan Jones this past July after six developmental years in the minor leagues, but he failed to establish himself as an everyday player. Jones posted a slash-line of .244/.309/.372 in 94 plate appearances (28 games), and he posted a mere 0.2 WAR (per Fangraphs) in limited action.
Nolan Jones rose through the ranks as a third baseman after being drafted as a shortstop coming out of high school. Now, the 24-year old is a corner outfielder by trade. The Rockies could do a lot worse in taking a chance on Jones in the hopes Coors Field could rekindle the outfielder’s bat that has gone dormant in the majors.
On the other hand, Juan Brito has also shown some solid ability to get on base in the lower minors. In 2022, Brito walked more times than he struck out (78 to 71) en route to a solid .877 OPS. At only 21 years old, the Guardians appear to be the perfect spot for the young second baseman’s development, knowing the franchise’s track record in developing solid infielders. (Andres Gimenez and Jose Ramirez come to mind.)