MLB Pipeline continued to roll out there positional rankings and the latest is of third basemen around Minor League Baseball. Jonathan India, the Cincinnati Reds 1st round pick from the 2018 draft, comes in on the list as the 9th best prospect at the position in baseball. For India, it’s the third consecutive year that he’s been ranked as one of the top 10 third base prospects by MLB Pipeline.

The 2020 year may have been the best one of the professional career for Jonathan India. Unfortunately there wasn’t a season that took place that we can look back on and cite his statistical performance. What we can do, though, is point out just how happy the organization was with what the infielder, who also saw time at second base this year while participating as a part of the Reds alternate site as a member of the 60-man player pool. Reports coming out of Prasco Park noted that India, who was now healthy, was taking steps forward with his power and his defense.

For Jonathan India, the tools have been visible, though they haven’t always been on display consistently. In both the 2018 and 2019 seasons he was hampered by some injuries that didn’t keep him off of the field much, but were present enough to keep him from getting the most of his raw talent. In the second half of 2019 he made an adjustment at the plate that resulted in much stronger plate discipline as he walked 22 times with just 26 strikeouts in Double-A over 34 games after walking 37 times with 84 strikeouts in 87 games in the first half of the year with Advanced-A Daytona.

Prospects are in a strange place right now when it comes to rankings. Without a 2020 season to look back on, a lot of the information that goes into grading and ranking guys is limited, and perhaps even old information. That’s not to say in the past that old data and information wasn’t applied – how a guy looked at their best, even two years prior, is still somewhat useful information for example – but the new information should be weighed more, and right now a lot of guys simply don’t have much “new information”. Guys like India have some because they were at the alternate site getting work in every day for two months, but you can’t replicate game action fully, and even though there was recordable data (video, batted ball tracking information, etc) – scouts still didn’t truly get the kind of looks they would like to have gotten (they were limited to video).

This upcoming season will be interesting to see just how much some guys improved and which guys improved. Jonathan India seems to be one of the guys in the Reds organization that has gotten the reports that say he’s one who took strides forward. With an ability to play multiple positions, and realistically close to the Major Leagues, if there’s an injury in 2021 that warrants the need to call someone up to play second or third base, India could be that option.

17 Responses

  1. Doc

    Or perhaps he makes Suarez a little more available for a possible SS trade.

    • Gaffer

      If we trade Suarez we need to get multiple prospects not a 1-2 WAR SS I a team that is 8-10 wins from the playoffs.

    • Colorado Red

      Suarez is cheap for a long time.
      Keep him, trade India instead.

  2. Gaffer

    India is a frustrating prospect IMO as he was a very high draft pick that never had a high likelihood of being a star but had a high floor. But he has played mostly to his floor based on stats played in leagues and home parks that favor pitcher strongly and injury. This means he will either play for the reds or not as he holds no trade value. I still hold out hope he will be a .270/.330/.400 player with decent defense but this teams 2 best offensive players play his positions. Heck their best young player basically does too so he plays out of position in CF. It limits his opportunity so much that unless there is a big trade he may be forced into oblivion, which is a wasted opportunity.

    • Tom

      It’s a good way of summarizing it. No reason to ship him out under the circumstances only to see some of their team pay little for whatever upside he produces. If we ever get to see baseball played again at the minor league level he will be one we will jump to conclusions on as fast as possible due to the need for answers and clarity. Say he starts at AA and quickly goes to AAA and does well all year, and Suarez and Moose have good years to bring back a good trade, problem solved.

      • Gaffer

        Agree.

        In the end he may not reach free agency until he is 30 but at least his best years will be with us for “cheap”.

      • DaveCT

        For me, India’s floor is a skilled utility guy, with a ceiling of a solid if unspectacular regular. Maybe a Cozart type which wouldn’t be too bad, though lower than a number 7 or 8 overall pick would suggest. I still think he produces pretty well.

    • Gaffer

      Playing him or Senzel at SS would make our pitching go from OK to horrible, especially as Moose at 2B has the range of about as far as someone can stretch while keeping one foot planted on the floor. Suarez has at best “average” range and Votto is a statue (and has horrible footwork when he tries to move). Add in Winker in LF and Castellanos in RF and you’ve got negative defensive value all over the place. Catcher is the only positive value they have currently.

      This team needs a SS (and CF) to make up for our defensive deficiency not make it worse. They basically need lots of strike out pitchers to minimize this. Heck they need lots of HRs and high OBP to win as they don’t run the bases or hit for a high enough average to “grind it out”.

      • Billy

        I get it, and I agree. My question was more a commentary on the fact that it doesn’t look like the Reds are going to end up getting a SS upgrade after all. Someone has to play the position, and right now, there are no good options for 2021.

  3. RedBaron

    Doug thanks…

    I have a Q? What level of Minor League ball would you say the Top SEC teams are equal too? I have always thought top SEC teams are about AA level talent. For instance the Florida team that India was a part of. TIA

    • Doug Gray

      If the SEC had to play 6 games a week they would get obliterated on a near daily basis. College teams simply don’t have the pitching depth to compete with professionals.

      Think about it like this: Every player in minor league baseball is someone who signed a pro contract. Even at elite schools like Florida, half of their roster is probably never going to play professionally. That’s not to say that some of the guys that don’t ever get drafted and signed aren’t better players currently than say, the 18-year-old kid playing in the Arizona Rookie League, though. But I think that if you had a team like Florida have to go out there and play 5-6 games a week, it would get ugly real quick. They’d do well in rookie ball when the weekend starters took the mound, probably, but the other days when they have to rely on 3 other starters, and what is now a depleted bullpen because they pitch more than twice a week and have to use everyone? That’s going to be real bad for them.

      • BK

        All great points, the schedule is significantly different and colleges certainly lack depth compared to the minor leagues. But how does weekend play in the ACC/SEC/Big12, all leagues with mostly competitive teams top to bottom going all-in to win each conference 3-game series, compare with the levels in the minors?

      • Doug Gray

        Rookie-ball. Think about how often you see 1st round draft picks go straight to Low-A and not exactly stand out, statistically, in July/August. And those are the elite guys, not just the good college player.

      • RedBaron

        Thanks Doug. I guess a better question would be what level are they playing at during the College World Series, when perhaps you can run the best pitchers out there more than during the regular season.

  4. Colorado Red

    9th best, means he is just a bit higher then average.
    Assuming he is the top Red, and 30 teams.
    Not so great.
    Need to drastically improve our scouting and player drafting people.