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.