The Cincinnati Reds have selected third baseman Jonathan India with the 5th overall pick in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft.
- School: Florida
- Position: Third Baseman
- Height: 6′ 0″
- Weight: 200 lbs.
- Bats/Throws: Right/Right
- Previously drafted: 26th round, Brewers
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).
In the best case scenario, the scouts who believe he could play shortstop are right, and he’s an elite level hitter for the position with power who can be a solid enough defender with a well rounded game. In a more likely scenario he’s a quality third baseman with good power for the position who has a well rounded game.
The one concern, and I wrote about it in the draft preview, is that he’s walked as much as he’s struck out this season as a junior. Historically, the better college hitters have walked significantly more as juniors than they have struck out. The season is still happening for Jonathan India as he’s in the College World Series with Florida, but he has 49 walks with 48 strikeouts. That’s a high walk rate, a good sign. But that strikeout rate is also very high.
Let’s note that these stats are through June 4th.
The plate discipline/contact is a bit of a concern. But the rest of his game looks quite good. The power is real, and he should be a quality defender at second or third base. If there’s a chance he could be a shortstop, things could get real interesting, real quick. It wouldn’t be surprising if he played there in the minors, especially early on. Quality pick in a draft that beyond the first selection had a group of guys that were all bunched together for the next 7-8 spots.