Two top Indians prospects will make their Progressive Field debut early during Major League Baseball’s All-Star Weekend in July as Lynchburg third baseman Nolan Jones and Columbus outfielder Daniel Johnson have been named participants in the SiriusXM Futures Game scheduled for play on Sunday, July 7.
Jones has spent the first half of this season at High-A Lynchburg and was named to the Carolina League All-Star team earlier this month. Johnson joined the Triple-A Columbus Clippers late in May after spending nearly two months of his season with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks.
The 21-year-old Jones got off to a bit of a slow start in the power department, but his other peripherals have been strong this season. A second round pick of the 2016 draft out of Holy Ghost Prep in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, the left-handed hitting third baseman has worked in 70 games for the Hillcats this season, posting a .289/.439/.417 slash with nine doubles, one triple, six homers, and 36 RBI.
This is his second season of work at High-A after spending the final 30 games of his 2018 campaign there (.298/.438/.471 with nine doubles, three homers, and 17 RBI). He opened his first full season of activity in the minors at Class-A Lake County in 2018, where he worked in 90 games and hit .279 with a .393 on-base percentage and a .464 slugging mark with 12 doubles, 16 homers, and 49 RBI.
Including 32 games in the Arizona Rookie League in 2016 and 62 games with short-season Mahoning Valley in 2017, Jones owns a career minor league slash of .289/.417/.444 with 53 doubles, 29 homers, and 144 RBI in 284 games.
Johnson, 23, was one of three players to come to Cleveland last November in the trade that sent All-Star catcher Yan Gomes to Washington. A fifth round pick out of New Mexico State in 2016 by the Nationals, he spent that season in short-season ball and the next year split between Washington’s Single-A and High-A affiliates, hitting a career-high 29 doubles, 22 homers, and 72 RBI, with a .298 average. He was limited to just 89 games for Harrisburg in 2018 due to a broken hamate bone, but he nearly doubled his previous career-bests for triples with seven on the campaign.
Johnson opened the Indians’ portion of his career with 39 games at Double-A Akron in his second stint of action in the Eastern League. He hit .253 with a .337 on-base percentage and a .534 slugging mark with seven doubles, two triples, ten homers, and 33 RBI while stealing six bases in nine attempts.
On May 25, he was promoted to Triple-A Columbus. In 30 games there, he has remained productive at the plate, slashing .275/.369/.492 with eleven doubles, three triples, three homers, and 14 RBI while stealing four of five bases attempted. Combined between the two levels, he owns a .263/.352/.515 line with 18 doubles, five triples, 13 homers, and 47 RBI in 69 games.
The 21st SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game is scheduled to be played at 7:00 PM ET on Sunday, July 7, from Progressive Field. The game will feature an American League vs. National League format for the first time, abandoning the previous U.S. vs. World approach of previous exhibitions. Former Tribe players Jim Thome (AL) and Dennis Martinez (NL) will manage the pool of 50 players that include 24 former first round picks and 15 internationally-born players (representing nine different countries/territories. The game will be played over seven innings and will follow the All-Star Celebrity Softball Game earlier in the day.
Photo: Ken Inness/MiLB.com