Everyone knew that there were going to be moves made before the Guardians put together their 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 Draft. But the organization surprised everyone when they traded one of their top prospects who finally made his debut in 2022.
Just like that, Nolan Jones was headed to Colorado.
This move was certainly a shocking one as Jones is only 24 years old and was Cleveland's second-round pick in 2016. He had a tone of potential, especially as a power bat in the lineup. Something the Guardians desperately need.
So why did the team decide to trade him?
It reportedly came all down to his strikeout rate and inability to make contact with the ball. It was something that was reminiscent of a former outfield prospect Bradley Zimmer who was traded after the first game of 2022.
It's hard to ignore that concern after reading the report. In the 86 plate appearances that Jones got, he had a 43.6 Swing % and a 29.9 Whiff % which is above league average. His 33 K% was also above the MLB average as well.
As much potential as Jones still has as a Big Leaguer, there just wasn't room for him on the team. He was a third baseman turned into a makeshift outfielder in a farm system that has a surplus of them combined with an impatient and aggressive bat.
The Guardians turned into the best contact team with the lowest strikeout rate in the MLB in 2022. The reality is Nolan Jones' approach at the plate just didn't match this formula.
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