The 2018 season has seen Jonathan India rise up draft boards all across baseball. When the season began he wasn’t in the Top 25, and now he’s inside the top 5 in several places.
- Position: Third Base
- Height: 6′ 0″
- Weight: 200 lbs.
- Class: Junior (Florida)
- Previously drafted: 26th round, Brewers 2015
As a freshman, Jonathan India played in 67 games for the Florida Gators. He was solid overall, but very good as a freshman, hitting .303/.367/.440 with 13 steals. India also walked 22 times and had 43 strikeouts. The next season he played in 59 games for the Gators. Offensively he took a step backwards. He would put up a .274/.354/.429 line at the plate. He hit six home runs, two more than the previous season. His plate discipline numbers didn’t change much, as he walked 23 times and had 42 strikeouts.
This year he’s upped his production in a big way. He’s walked 46 times in 57 games – matching his walk total he had in his first two years combined. He’s also watched his power explode, hitting 17 home runs so far this season. That’s led to a .368/.506/.735 line on the year for Florida. His strikeout rate, however, is also the highest of his career. He has 46 strikeouts, a career high, and currently has the fewest plate appearances he’s had in any season.
Let’s note that these stats are through May 25th.
For the most part during his college career, Jonathan India has played third base. But earlier this season he slid over to shortstop for a little bit. The belief, however, is that he’s going to be a third baseman at the Major League level, with perhaps a chance to play second.
Offensively is where things get a little bit more interesting. His power has been very impressive this season. Some reports have his power as merely average (which would be about 18-ish home runs in the Majors), while some have him above-average. He’s showing the ability to hit for a high average this year, and his tools grade average or better across the board (MLB Pipeline gives him a 55 in every tool except for power, where he’s average with a 50).
What’s to like with Jonathan India
He’s done what you hope guys do as college juniors: step up their performance in a big way. The power jump and increase in walks has been enormous. That he has also shown a little more defensive flexibility is 2018 has been a bonus. He’s got some speed to work with, and he’s used it well on the bases throughout his college career.
What’s to be concerned about with Jonathan India
The old rule that elite college hitters should walk significantly more than they strike out does not work well in favor of Jonathan India. He’s walked as often as he’s struck out this season and that’s a bit of a red flag. Toss in that his strikeout rate is also quite high for a guy in contention as a first rounder, much less a Top 10 pick, and that’s another red flag.
Does Jonathan India fit for the Reds?
Much like the last profiled draft prospect, how you approach the draft depends on if a guy like Jonathan India fits for the organization. With the idea that you take the best player available, then he could certainly fit. But, as a guy who seems like he fits in at third base or second base, it’s tough to say he’s a great fit with the Reds. Eugenio Suarez is locked up for 7 years at third base. Second base is the deepest position on the field for the Reds with Nick Senzel, Shed Long, Dilson Herrera, and Alex Blandino at the spots, all in Double-A or higher right now.
Not having the clearest path to the Major Leagues, though, hasn’t stopped the Cincinnati Reds and scouting director Chris Buckley from selecting the best player on the board. The team took Yonder Alonso in 2008 with Joey Votto just having reached the Major Leagues. They also took Yasmani Grandal in 2010 with Devin Mesoraco in the midst of a huge breakout minor league season.