With their 2nd round pick (#55 overall) in the 2016 Draft the Cleveland Indians have selected third baseman Nolan Jones out of the Holy Ghost Prep School (PA).
Born: 5/7/1998 – Height: 6’3” – Weight: 195 – Bats: Left – Throws: Right
Perfect Game: #24
Baseball America: #19
Tony’s take: How quickly the view of a draft can change. Earlier, the Indians spent what many viewed as a reach pick on outfielder Will Benson with their first round pick. Now, the Indians get excellent value with the selection of Jones in the second round – a player who had top 20 talent and was clear first round talent who likely fell because of possible signability issues. If the Indians would have taken Jones with their first pick and Benson with their second pick no one would have a problem with what they have done so far. What the Indians have added to the system is a big need: power. Jones is a legit third baseman as he has a well above average arm for the position with the accuracy and athleticism needed for the position. The bat is what is impressive as while he is yet another left-handed bat, he can hit as he has a smooth swing and just continues to get bigger and bigger and could have good power potential down the road. The question here is if the Indians can sign both Jones and Benson as both will command a large portion of their bonus pool money, so if the Indians want to sign them they will probably have to get some well underslot players the rest of the way.
Jeff Ellis: If you flip the Indians two picks I would have loved this draft. I am not worried about signability, they would not have drafted him if they could not sign him, but I do wonder how this will affect the rest of the pull. It also makes me wonder if Benson’s signing demands were over-stated. I have mocked Jones to Cleveland repeatedly. He checks all the boxes as a cold weather, left-handed bat who plays up the middle and is young for the class. He is going to move off the position but is a very good athlete who could handle third. A big kid at 6’4” with plus hit and power potential, this kid is a slam dunk pick to me. One of the best five picks in the draft so far. It is interesting on most boards Benson was in the 30’s and Jones in the teens. The fact they got both changes my entire outlook on the draft.
Press Release: Jones, 18, is a 2016 graduate of Holy Ghost Prep (Bensalem, PA), where he posted a .636 average (28-for-44) with five home runs, 24 RBI and 26 runs scored in 19 games during his senior campaign, despite missing the start of the season due to a back injury. The left-handed hitter tallied 24 walks against just three strikeouts in 72 plate appearances for the Firebirds. Jones also doubled as right-handed reliever, working 8.0 shutout innings with 11 strikeouts over four appearances on the mound.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Virginia commit led the Firebirds to back-to-back PIAA District 1 AAA postseason appearances, as Holy Ghost Prep won the title in 2015 and advanced to the semifinals in 2016. Jones was also named a 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game 1st Team All-American.