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Cleveland Slugging Prospect Makes MLB Debut

Photo by MLB Photos

CLEVELAND, OH: Prior to yesterday evening's game against the Orioles, the Guardians recalled Triple-A Columbus first base/corner outfield prospect Jhonkensy Noel. In simultaneous action, Cleveland optioned outfielder Jonathan Rodriguez. In his big league debut, Noel started last night against Grayson Rodriguez at first base.

Noel went 1-4 in last night’s contest, slugging a home run in his first MLB at-bat and drove in one of Cleveland’s two runs.

Noel has been a member of Cleveland's 40-man roster since 2021. He turns 23 next month. Despite not having played above High-A yet, the Guardians excluded him from that winter's Rule 5 draft. They've let him advance through the lower league tiers with patience.

Noel was in and out of High-A for nearly the whole of 2022. He was a member of Columbus for the whole 2023 season, appearing in 138 games and hitting .220/.303/.420.

It's evident that they were expecting a breakout from the 6'3", 250-pound slugger. This season, that has in fact happened. In 284 at-bats, Noel has blasted 18 home runs, good for second place among International League batters in longballs hit.

The Dominican Republic native has a strong batting line this year of .295/.359/.578. In his first experience with Triple-A pitching, he struck out 24.8% of the time; this year, he is only striking out 21.1% of the time.

What makes this exciting, is the fact that Noel is not only young, but has high upside in the power department. Cleveland has gotten younger with this move and could use Noel as a backup role or regular depending on how he develops.

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