#5 SS/3B Nolan Jones 6’4″ 216 lbs
School: Holy Ghost Prep (Pennsylvania)
Scout Grade: Hit: 20/50+ | Game Power: 20/50+ | Raw Power: 50/60 | Speed: 50/45 | Field: 45/50+ | Arm: 55/55
What do we know:
If you had to pick one player who could be the player with the most bang for buck or potential for success in the middle first, Nolan Jones would absolutely be it. Even though both Fangraphs and Baseball America have Jones ranked as the 16th best player available, there is still a potential he falls to the Cardinals. MLB Top Prospects believes this is a possibility, as they have him slotted to the Cardinals in their latest Mock Draft.
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According to Fangraphs, Jones future grades are pretty tantalizing. He has a 50 Future Value Hit tool and a 50+ FV “Game Power” tool. Jones currently possesses an impressive 50 grade “Raw Power” tool. However, one of the more impressive tools that make Jones all the more interesting is that he is rated as a 45-grade fielder with 55 future value. His arm is 55 across the board, but with refinement and a move to third it could be better.
Watching him swing the bat shows his tremendous bat speed and his frame that screams projectability. Red Baron has this to say about his bat speed, “That bat speed translates to big-time raw power, and even more impressively, to opposite-field raw power, which I tend to think of as one of the best predictors of future success in a young hitter. He can go gap-to-gap as well as any hitter in his age group…”
Much like Kirilloff, players like Jones do not grow on trees. They are the type of players that you take advantage of this early in the draft. These are the players that the club has to take a shot at much like they did with Nick Plummer and Bryce Denton last year. While him lasting to the Cardinals may be a hope and a dream at this point, if he is available this is a no-brainer pick.
These are just a handful of guys that could go to the Cardinals at #23. I very well could be wrong (like I was last season), but this is who I would select in their position. I’ll get into who they should select with their compensation picks next week! Thanks for reading.
All Scouting Grades via Fangraphs