The Rockies announced this evening that corner infielder/outfielder Nolan Jones has been optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. Reliever Noah Davis was also optioned, while non-roster invitees Logan Allen, Jeff Criswell, Braxton Fulford and Karl Kauffmann were all reassigned to minor league camp.
Jones’ demotion comes as a bit of a surprise. Colorado acquired the 24-year-old from the Guardians at the start of the offseason, sending infield prospect Juan Brito the other way. It was a rare swap of fairly well regarded young players, with Colorado taking the shot on a power hitter closer to the majors while Cleveland added an up-the-middle talent with excellent numbers in Low-A. Jones entered camp with what seemed to be a strong chance to crack the Opening Day team in Colorado, an opportunity that might not have been afforded on a deeper Guardians’ roster.
That became particularly true once the Rox lost starting second baseman Brendan Rodgers to what could be a season-ending shoulder dislocation. That opened the possibility of third baseman Ryan McMahon moving back to the keystone. Colorado general manager Bill Schmidt declared that the plan a couple weeks ago. The club later added Mike Moustakas to the organization on a non-roster pact. Moustakas played a decent amount of second base between 2019-20 but has only logged 10 2/3 innings there over the past two seasons. Thomas Harding of MLB.com tweeted shortly after the signing that the Rockies viewed Moustakas solely as a corner infield/designated hitter option.
With McMahon likely headed to second, third base became a position for grabs. Jones, Elehuris Montero and non-roster veterans Moustakas and Harold Castro appeared the top candidates. Jones is now out of the mix to start the season, due at least in part to a disappointing spring performance. The left-handed hitter hit .186/.250/.233 in exhibition play, striking out 20 times in 48 plate appearances. Moustakas, Montero and Castro have all gotten off to better starts this spring.
A former second-round pick, Jones appeared among Baseball America’s top 100 prospects each season from 2019-21. He has generated intrigue for huge walk tallies and big power potential in his 6’4″ frame but lofty strikeout totals have been the biggest concern. Jones routinely struck out in more than a quarter of his plate appearances climbing the minor league ladder, including a 30% rate in Triple-A in 2021. To his credit, he trimmed that to 25.8% with a quality .276/.368/.463 line over 55 games there last year. That earned him a 28-game MLB look, in which he posted a .244/.309/.372 slash with 31 punchouts and eight walks in 94 plate appearances.
Jones will start the year with the Isotopes and should benefit from one of the most favorable offensive environments in pro ball. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him earn a recall to make his team debut before too long. In the interim, his option seems to bode well for Moustakas’ and Castro’s chances of cracking the roster out of camp.
The remainder of the corner spots should be spoken for if everyone’s healthy. The Rockies have agreed to terms with Jurickson Profar to play left field, thereby pushing Kris Bryant to right. First baseman C.J. Cron has dealt with some back discomfort but informed reporters today he expects to be ready for Opening Day (via Harding). The same is true for corner outfielder/DH Charlie Blackmon, who has also been slowed by a back problem but expects to participate in batting practice this evening (relayed by Danielle Allentuck of the Denver Gazette).
Superstar Prospect Wander Javier
There is a reason they brought in Moustakas and Profar
ATA boy!!! I knew you could do it!!!
A lot of competition here
Kiddhoff……Many knock offs… only one original!!!
GOAT Closer Esteban Yan
I was wowed at first. I read Nolan Arenado and was like whaaaaaaa?!?!?! Then I remembered that Nolan Arenado plays for a different team, the Rockies are a shell of their perennial wild card peak, and I’m still very dyslexic.
Dyslexia?? Yeah…..that’s what we’ll tell him he has.
In nurse follars
Why wow? If CBT gave up on him doesn’t that tell you all you need to know?
It’s a running gag among a few folks to post “wow” as the first comment whenever possible.
yeah my list of muted accounts has grown. so annoying
No surprise. He had an OPS of .483 this spring in 40+ ABs. No Bueno!
The Guardians mostly gave up on him because they – probably rightly – figured that if he was having so many issues with strikeouts at AA/AAA it was likely only going to get worse in the show. And because Jose is their 3B, his offensive profile does not really project well at LF/RF/1B. I was really hoping a change of scenery would let him blossom a hit – maybe sticking to his “natural position” would free him up to tackle some of his contact issues? There’s still time but spring has been a pretty bad sign.
You can have all the other tools that you want, but if you dont have the tool that counts…the ability to hit a ball with a bat with some modicum of consistency….
A power tool doesn’t matter when you can’t hit in the first place.
@CATS44 and hitting a baseball is the most difficult thing in all of sports. 99.9% of all of you ain’t even foul tipping it much less a 400 foot bomb
That’s the Jake Lamb career profile.
Just a send down. He will be up at some point unless he just totally tanks at Albuquerque. I think people overrate being on the Opening Day roster. He is still on the 40 man and probably first man up in the event of injury or ineffectiveness. He got sent down because he has an option and other guys don’t.
Indians recognized a flaw in Jones. Dumped him off to a subpar organization while he still had value.
That’s another reason why Antonetti is one of the best. Hope No-Jo bounces back but I trust Cleveland juuust a bit more.
if Brito does what he did last year but in AA, he’s gonna be knocking on the door of top 100 prospect lists. he’s basically putting up extremely similar rates and numbers to Amador at just a year older, and Amador is a consensus top prospect. Guardians sought him out in particular for a reason
Pretty much anyone could see that flaw. Including Rockies pro scouting. They just have more potential for him in Colorado.
My brain keeps trying to tell me that Norah Jones is in that first paragraph somewhere…