The Cleveland Indians have gotten major contributions from some surprise players in 2021.
That has prevented the front office from getting impatient and calling up some top prospects.
The big story in MLB this week involves the Tampa Bay Rays calling up Wander Franco.
He is supposed to be the “next big thing” in MLB and it is exciting to see him come up and join a contender.
Perhaps he can do what Juan Soto did just a few years back.
For the Indians, fans are still waiting on the team’s current top prospect to make his debut.
That player is Nolan Jones.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 18, 2021
Why Hasn’t Jones Been Called Up?
The 23-year-old had the misfortune of missing the entire 2020 season due to the MiLB season being canceled.
He still got some training in with the club, but it was not the same.
That meant he started this season in Triple-A Columbus.
So far, his .751 OPS doesn’t exactly jump off the page.
He also has 53 strikeouts in 40 games.
But the Indians know Jones is going to get a shot in Cleveland sooner than later because he is just too good to keep in Triple-A.
Nolan Jones washed away that poor start in a hurry. Up to 111 wRC+ already at AAA.
Most notably, he projects at 100 wRC+ in the bigs *right now*.
I think it’s going to get difficult to keep him down in the near future…
— Gage (@GageEHC) June 21, 2021
The issue now is finding a spot for him in the field.
Jones is poised to come up as a third baseman, his primary position, but that is obviously held by Jose Ramirez.
The team then decided to give Jones some time in the corner outfield spots down in Columbus.
Jones also got a few starts at first base, but that is Bobby Bradley‘s job for now.
The Indians have no need to rush Jones up and we all know how teams love to maintain service time and control on players.
However, this situation does not appear to be about that.
Will Jones Get Called Up In 2021?
The answer to that question likely depends on if the Indians remain in the postseason hunt all the way until October.
If they are chasing a spot, it would almost be unfair to put Jones out there in September.
It would also mean bumping someone who has likely done well all season.
However, we do not know if the Indians plan to sell any pieces at the trade deadline.
If someone like Rosario is sent off, Jones could start to see time in left field.
But once again, there are others who could fill that spot before him as well.
His 2021 plans also depend on whether more injuries take place.
If the offense deals with similar injury issues, Jones could have a fast-track to Cleveland.
Let’s just hope that isn’t the ultimate reason for his debut.