The Guardians are now 12-4 over their last 16 games.
The winning avalanche continued in Colorado on Wednesday, where the Guardians clipped the Rockies 7-5 on the bats of Amed Rosario and José Ramirez, who finished with three and four hits, respectively.
Unfortunately, the Twins also won, meaning Cleveland didn’t make up any ground in the division race.
But, they didn’t lose any ground either.
Further, the win puts the Guardians just a half-game back of the Boston Red Sox for the last wild card spot.
For a minute there, it looked like Cleveland didn’t have the juice or consistency to remain competitive.
Instead, the team turned on the jets at just the right moment.
And while the present is certainly bright, so too is the organization’s future.
According to Bleacher Report, the Guardians have the third-best farm system in baseball.
Headlined by Tier One prospects Daniel Espino, Gavin Williams, and George Valera, it looks like Cleveland will be in good hands for some time.
Also making the list of top Guardians prospects is Nolan Jones, who MLB ranks as the seventh best player in Cleveland’s system.
What can fans expect from the former high school stud?
Jones, who plays third base and outfield, currently plays for AAA Columbus.
Through nine games with the Clippers, Jones is slashing .276/.382/.345.
By those numbers, it’s clear Jones is not a power hitter.
Here’s a blurb of Jones’ official scouting writeup from MLB:
“With his bat speed, strength and the leverage in his left-handed swing, Jones has the best raw power in the system — as well as arguably the most patient approach. … While his naturally long stroke and willingness to work deep counts always will result in strikeouts, he’ll need to make better contact to hold down an everyday job at third base or on an outfield corner.”
Two years ago, Jones appeared on a crash course for consistent playing time in Cleveland.
But last season, Jones scuffled a bit in the AAA action, batting just .238 before an ankle injury derailed his season.
#Guardians 24yr old OF prospect Nolan Jones with a laser back up the middle to score Tyler Freeman & give Columbus a 1-to-0 lead in the 1st.@Nolan_Jones10 @CLBClippers #ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/gEKWUu2xon
— Guardians Prospective (@CleGuardPro) June 16, 2022
By most indications, Jones is back in form, already on pace for more hits, runs, and RBIs than last season.
Jones will want to put last season’s woes well into the rearview mirror if he hopes to find everyday action in the majors.
Three’s a Crowd
Even if Jones improves his stats, will it be enough?
As it stands now, the Guardians are pretty stocked at all the positions Jones could play.
At third base, José Ramirez splits time with Ernie Clement.
And let’s just say, Ramirez isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
In the outfield, Jones faces an uphill battle to unseat one of Steven Kwan or Oscar Gonzalez.
Both players have been a revelation this season for the Guardians, instrumental in the team’s success.
After a rough first game back Tuesday night #Guardians 24yr old OF prospect Nolan Jones reached base 5x today driving in 3 runs in the Clippers 11-3 win!
Line: 3-3 R 3RBI 2BB@Nolan_Jones10 @CLBClippers #ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/YgQbpsKW87
— Guardians Prospective (@CleGuardPro) June 8, 2022
The best-case scenario for Jones might be a reserve situation in the outfield, where he covers for players who need a day off, are injured, or going through a rough streak.
Or perhaps the team eventually moves Ramirez to DH permanently, opening up a spot at third.
Again, unlikely, considering Ramirez is one of the best defensive third basemen in baseball.
Great bullpen work. Even Brian Shaw is getting them out. Team is striking out less, That sure helps.
OK, they beat up on the bums, but that’s what you have to do…….but weren’t doing in April and May.
Don’t know if they can keep this up, but, like the team itself, I am energized as a Cleveland fan. .