A former second-round pick, Jones has appeared on Baseball America’s list of the game’s 100 top prospects each season from 2019-21. He consistently put up quality numbers in the minor leagues, and posted some of the game’s highest walk averages for running top-level marks on base. Jones struggled a bit during his first Triple-A breakthrough in 2021, but this year he entered the top ten in Cleveland.
The 24-year-old started the season at Triple-A, but fared better in his second round at the level. In 248 plate appearances, he posted a streak of .276/.368/.463 with nine home runs. The Guardians first called him up in July, and he made his first major league 92 trips to the plate. Jones only hit .244/.309/.372 while hitting a third of the time in this limited appearance, but there is still plenty of interest in his long-term profile.
Jones has a mark of .252/.361/.443 across 655 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. He has walked 13.7% of his trips to plate there while connecting with 22 home runs and 36 doubles. His high strike rate of 28.4% raises some questions about his putter skills with the ball, but the combination of strength and board discipline makes him an interesting addition for Rox.
The Philadelphia native came in as the third baseman, though he’s seen increasingly more action in the corner this year. Prospects evaluators have long suggested he could be a suitable defender in a hot corner, but the long-term position in Cleveland has clearly been talked about before. Jose Ramirez. The Rockies already have their own third baseman franchise – albeit not one of Ramirez’s caliber – in Ryan McMahon. With McMahon playing elite defense in the hot corner, Jones will likely play a more immediate role in the corner zone and set-hitter combination. Rocky Mountains Charlie Blackmon for another year to split time between right field and DH, while Chris Bryant Hopefully she stays healthy and shuts down left field. CJ Crone is the assumed starter at first base, but Colorado can rotate Jones’ left-handed bat into the mix along with Crone while keeping Blackmon off his feet more often than not.
Moving to the Cleveland end of the swap, they’ve got an interesting low-level prospect from the improved Colorado farm system. Brito, who recently turned 21, spent the entire 2022 season at Low-A. 470 with 11 home runs through 497 plate appearances, hitting 15.7% of his runs for a minuscule 14.3% strikeout percentage. Baseball USA placed the Dominican Republic native just 30th in its mediocrity ranking in Colorado’s farm system, but Guardians evaluators are clearly far more optimistic about his upside.
Brito played second base almost exclusively in the minors. He’s not considered a particularly impressive defender or athlete, but he’s a switch-hitting quarterback with an excellent minor league track record. The Guardians have prioritized players with impressive bat skills and the ability to play a key defensive position, and Brito certainly fits that mold.
With Brito already eligible for the Rule 5 draft, Cleveland promptly selected him to the 40-man roster. The Guardians often navigate the roster around the history of Rule 5 as they swap types of depth or players made more expensive by refereeing for away talent. But this is not that kind of movement. Both players occupy the 40-player field, and neither of them are within two years of access to arbitration. Both could still be selected to the minor leagues – Jones for an extra year, and Prieto for three. Britto certainly won’t make it into the MLB mix right away, but this is a great exchange for young, uncertain players – each team seems motivated by each team simply valuing the player they bring in more than the player they ship away, not by contractual provisions or scheduling rearrangements. .
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