Scouting the Indians '16 Draft: Nolan Jones and Jamal Rutledge

The IBI's Tony Lastoria provides some insight and information on 2016 draft picks Nolan Jones and Jamal Rutledge as well as detailed comments from Indians Director of Amateur Scouting Brad Grant...

Over the course of the next few weeks I am going to be posting post-draft pieces like this on all of the players that the Indians drafted and signed from the 2016 Draft. The Indians signed 25 players in total and I have comments and details on each and every player from Indians Amateur Scouting Director Brad Grant. I will be including comments from Grant and a quick summary on each player as well as any stats from the 2016 season.

Rather than just roll down the list of players in order of when they were picked, I am going to put these up at random and mix a higher and lower profile prospect together so two players are featured in each article.

Here are previous profiles:

Will Benson and Ryder Ryan

Nolan Jones – Infielder

2nd round, Holy Ghost Prep
2016 stats: 32 G, .257 AVG, 10 R, 5 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 23 BB, 49 K, 3 SB, .728 OPS

Quick summary: What the Indians have added to the system is a big need: power. Jones is a legit third baseman as he has a well above average arm for the position with the accuracy and athleticism needed for the position. The bat is what is impressive as while he is yet another left-handed bat, he can hit as he has a smooth swing and just continues to get bigger and bigger and could have good power potential down the road. He checks all the boxes as a cold weather, left-handed bat who plays up the middle and is young for the class. He was one of the best five picks in the draft to the IBI.

Grant’s take: “He has met all of the expectations that we had for him. We were thrilled to get him and Will. We went back and forth and back and forth and valued those guys a lot. To get Nolan where we got him was really a great thing. He is an impressive kid too and a guy who is a little further advanced with his approach, and it shows right now with where he is in Arizona. But he still has some areas to improve and I think the power will continue to gradually improve. We view him as a third basemen in the future and obviously need to work with him a little there and continue to get him better defensively. He is another guy with upside and has all of those thing we like with the bat, character and other things. One, for a high school hitter he does control the zone very well. He doesn’t expand it. He does understand the zone and just has the ability to make consistent, hard contact. Over the course of the summer playing against the best completion he stood out in terms of his contact ability and contact rate, and then carried it over into high school. So there is hit ability there. He continues to get stronger – he has already added a ton of weight to begin with strength-wise - so as he continues to add that strength there is going to be more power in the bat to come. He has above average raw power now; it is just getting it consistent in the game. He is another makeup guy. Just to see the improvement he made strength-wise you know the guy is going to go and work. Just from where he came from last summer to where he is now, he put a ton of work and effort into it and it has translated over to the minor league side too.”

Jamal Rutlegde – Infielder

28th round, Contra Costa College (CA)
2016 stats: 17 G, .109 AVG, 4 R, 0 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1BB, 14 K, .280 OPS

Quick summary: Jamal Rutledge was the hardest player to find information for in this draft. He is a shortstop from Contra Coast College. Contra Costa has not had a player drafted directly from it since 2010, and has produced one major league player taken directly from there in Mike Felder who was taken in 1981. The stats on Rutledge had him appearing in 31 games this year, but unlike most of the other selections the Indians made, he rarely walked as he did it just five times and struck out 27 times. Looking at the numbers, he looks like a solid defender at short and that is what drew the Indians to him.

Grant’s take: “Very small guy from a small school that our scout out there Don Lyle spent a lot of time with. He is kind of from an inner city type of background and has earned everything he has gotten. He is a guy we really like as a person and how he has worked to get to where he is and that he will continue to work to get where he needs to go. He is kind of a projection guy. He is a projection athlete. He has some raw power and has some things we like; it is just about molding him into something to see where he goes. I think we will probably move him around in the infield and give him some opportunities in the outfield. It is a raw guy that we want to try and mold and develop.”

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