Jhonkensy Noel’s Quest to Provide for His Family
Originally published on 1/23/2022, this is a feature article on 1B Jhonkensy Noel I wrote for the now defunct Guardians Baseball Insider
Driven to provide for his family based on his life experiences, Noel’s belief that his family deserves better is the source of his strong competitive spirit and business-like attitude on the field. He’s extremely straightforward about the hard times his family frequently faced during his childhood. The 6’3 slugger is outgoing, intelligent, and articulate with his English for someone that started learning the language in his late teens.
Having an older brother that played professional baseball as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Noel had a source of advice, inspiration, and everything else an older brother could personify. The 20-year-old first baseman’s favorite player growing up was David Ortíz, saying that the joy he emitted and the competitive spirit he proudly displayed when he played the game made it attractive.
A shortstop as an amateur before moving to first and third as a professional, the tall and lanky individual believes that he could play any position on the diamond except pitcher or catcher.
Noel’s professional career started during the 2018 season with 64 games in the Dominican Summer League at the age of 16 years old. In comparison to his other peers at first who played in the DSL that summer, Noel’s results seem unimpressive, but he put up a 129 wRC+ on a .243/.357/.431 slash line while being the second youngest first basemen in the DSL that year.
He was second among his fellow first basemen in the league in home runs (10) and ISO% (.188). In 2019, he played 47 games with Cleveland’s affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League at the age of 17 years old, posting a 114 wRC+ on a .287/.349/.455 slash line. He turned heads in the AZL with surprising athleticism for someone his size and his adeptness around the bag at first base…