ROCKIES

Rockies’ Nolan Jones named a top three left fielder in MLB

Jan 25, 2024, 2:44 PM

How good was Nolan Jones as a rookie for the Colorado Rockies?

Just look at what the team has done to $182 million man Kris Bryant. The former MVP was brought in on a giant contract to play left field, but he’ll be shifted full-time to first base starting next season, clearing the way for Jones in left. The reason? Well, in just one season Jones became one of the very best left fielders in baseball.

On Wednesday, MLB Network named Jones the third-best left fielder in the game. Coming behind two-time All-Star Yordan Alvarez and Wyoming native Brandon Nimmo.

Jones started the season at Triple-A Albuquerque after a November trade moved him to the Rockies from Cleveland. Jones raked for the Isotopes and was promoted after 39 games with a 1.193 OPS. In the bigs for Colorado, Jones instantly impacted the Rockies lineup.

Jones got two hits and knocked in two runs in his second game for the Rockies, a 10-7 win. A few days later he slammed his first homer in purple. Jones rode a steady start into a firey finish, producing a 1.112 OPS in 29 games in the season’s final month.

Though he had played a few games for Guardians in 2022, his first year in Colorado earned him a fourth-place finish for the NL Rookie of the Year. Arizona’s Corbin Carroll (5.4) was the only NL rookie who accumulated more WAR than Jones (4.3) and the D-Backs outfielder played 49 more games. Meaning Jones, was just about the best first-year player in the game last season on a per-game basis.

In all, Jones played 106 games, slashing .297/.389/.542 with 20 homers, 20 stolen bases and 62 RBI across 424 plate appearances. He also had 19 outfield assists, becoming the first rookie in MLB history with a 20-20-19 season. If Jones can pull off another 20-homer, 20-stolen base season in 2024, he’ll join Bobby Witt Jr. and Julio Rodríguez as the only players in MLB history with two 20-20 seasons to begin a career.

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