Tribe top prospect Jones has thumb surgery

Infielder aiming to be unrestricted by start of Spring Training

October 24th, 2019

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have become all too familiar with hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham over the past few weeks.

After José Ramírez (right) and Jason Kipnis (right) each underwent hamate surgery in August and September, respectively, the club’s top prospect per MLB Pipeline, Nolan Jones, was the most recent player from the organization to pay Dr. Graham a visit. On Wednesday, the 21-year-old had surgery on his right thumb in New York City. Jones is beginning rehabilitation this week, and he is hoping to be unrestricted at the start of Spring Training.

Jones suffered the injury late in the regular season with Double-A Akron, and he later aggravated it in the Arizona Fall League. The Tribe has not been shy in showing excitement for the third baseman’s future.

In 126 games split between Class A Advanced Lynchburg and Double-A Akron, Jones hit .272 with 22 doubles, three triples, 15 homers, 63 RBIs and an .851 OPS. He represented the Indians at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Progressive Field in July, and he was immediately rewarded with a promotion to Akron when he returned from the festivities.

Jones played 15 games in the Arizona Fall League before being sidelined with the thumb injury. He had hit .200 with two doubles, four homers, eight RBIs, 31 strikeouts and a .727 OPS in 60 at-bats.

With the Tribe not expected to pick up Kipnis’ option for 2020, Ramírez has offered to leave the hot corner and move over to second base. With this flexibility, there’s a chance the organization could shift him across the diamond and prepare to have Jones at third base in the near future. Though MLB Pipeline projects the infielder to be Major League ready in ’20, he’ll now need to prove he’s injury-free at Spring Training, and he will still need some time at Triple-A before getting the call.