Prospect Interview: Cleveland’s #1 Prospect Nolan Jones Shares His Baseball Journey
Nolan Jones never knew that professional baseball was going to be the path he would take in life, but he now knows that nothing could have been better for him. As Cleveland’s No. 1 prospect, he is a defensive infielder and a strong hitter, nailing 15 balls over the wall in 2019 alone. He grew up with many other things in mind for his future, but he shared with me that he later learned that baseball was his true passion. Nolan was an All-Star player this past season for the Lynchburg Hillcats and continues to pursue his journey to become a major league star.
“Growing up with many siblings, I often found myself in competition causing a growing determination to win,” says Nolan. Within this competition, he was given the opportunity to feel the glory of winning early on. He told himself of his opponents, “I’m not going to let you win, you’re going to have to beat me,” which encouraged him to try harder. As well as siblings, he had neighbors that were his age, allowing him to compete with not just his siblings, but them as well. The feeling of winning never satisfied him when it came time for another round.
One of the games that Nolan and his friends/family would play, was baseball. “We played in our backyard with a tennis ball so that we wouldn’t get in trouble by breaking a window,” shared Nolan. He also played the sport while on his brothers team, with kids that were older than him. “Always being the youngest player on my brother’s team is what helped me the most in getting to where I am today and also helped me become accustomed to owning the spot on my team now.”
Although baseball was a hobby in his childhood, he loved hockey the most. The Langhorne, PA native worked hard to accomplish his dream of becoming a professional hockey player. He grew up playing hockey as a kid with his brothers and sisters and always looked up to them with the aspiration to play at their level.
While originally hockey was what he wanted to pursue, Nolan continuously got hurt while playing and quickly lost the ability to play. He suffered from a concussion that led to his permanent retirement of the sport. When Jones realized that he was no longer able to play hockey, he remembered how much he enjoyed playing baseball with his family and friends. Finally, in high school, it occurred to him that if he put as much time and effort into baseball as he did hockey, he could be the all star player that he is today.
While being the youngest has always helped him, Jones believes that the mental toughness that is required for baseball plays a huge role in a player’s ability to play. “You must be able to handle the failure otherwise, you’re never going to get to where you truly want to be.” Nolan believes that the mental mindset that is required, truly sets baseball apart from any other sport and if you aren’t mentally strong enough for the game, you will never be able to play to your full potential.
“While your mindset helps you throughout your whole career, your teammates are the best part of playing the sport,” says Nolan.
He continued, “If you don’t have good teammates, the game is not as fun as it can be. Your teammates are there for you through most of the season and will help you overcome any obstacle. Everyone is there for everyone no matter the consequence, but just because your teammates are there for you, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pull your weight.”
Nolan knows that baseball is his path. He didn’t know it from a young age, but now he would never go back. You will be required to be mentally strong, but it pays off in the end. Your teammates are there to help you through it all, which will truly help you in the long run.
Growing up wishing for hockey but playing and succeeding in baseball, Nolan is truly an exceptional player.