On Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks the Cincinnati Reds penciled in Jonathan India at second base. The prospect, who is a part of “early minor league camp” rather than big league camp (though they really aren’t being treated as completely different entities like they have been in the past) took advantage of the playing time. He was hit by a pitch in his first trip to the plate, but it was the laser show he put on in his second trip to the plate that jumped out as he just obliterated a ball on a line onto the roof in right field.

After the game, manager David Bell had some praise for the now 24-year-old infielder.

“He’s right on track,” said Bell. “We couldn’t be happier with where he is. Last year it was impressive seeing him, you could obviously tell he was a good player. But in some ways it’s been pretty remarkable the difference one year makes. I think he had a very successful time at Prasco – I think he made the most of it and it’s really showing up. The reports coming out of there – just everything about him, they way he was playing defense, the at-bats he was having. Probably more than anything that stands out is the level of toughness. He loves to play, and natural leadership qualities, just be being who he is – for a young player to stand out like that, it’s been impressive. We’re very happy with where he is.”

Injuries have been a bit of an issue for Jonathan India since he was selected 5th overall in the 2018 draft. There hasn’t been something that’s kept him off of the field for extended periods of time, but he’s played through a wrist injury – one that ultimately did cost him about half of the Arizona Fall League season in 2019 – and had other little things here and there that have likely limited his production some.

In 2020 there was no minor league season to be played. But Major League Baseball did implement the alternate sites for the players in the 60-man player pool who weren’t in the big leagues. The Reds invited Jonathan India, along with several other prospects not on the 40-man roster to participate. Much like David Bell, I was getting reports that were glowing on what India was doing at Prasco Park.

Jonathan India was healthy (until an oblique injury cut his “season” short near the very end). And the things he had been figuring out in the second half of 2019 in Chattanooga were really starting to take hold in 2020 and the combination of the two were leading to more power output than he had shown before as a professional. His defense was also expanding as he began to see more and more action away from third base and began to play plenty of second base.

For now, India is still blocked at both of those positions with Eugenio Suárez and Mike Moustakas there at the big league level. But having the ability to cover both could open up the opportunity to fill in at either if there’s an injury in the future. It could also help him land a spot as a utility player on the roster if the team decides that’s the best option at some point rather than keeping him in the minor leagues.

Both Suárez and Moustakas are under contract for at least the next three seasons. That’s a long time to make a guy who is already 24-years-old wait around if he’s ready. Too many good options is never a problem. But soon enough there might come a time where the organization may need to try and figure out another way to get Jonathan India into the lineup, or perhaps pursue another option to maximize the value he can bring.

10 Responses

  1. Justin

    I wonder if there are any trades around the league waiting on seeing prospects in spring training. Since no one got to see them last year. Maybe India is being showcased and talked up for a future trade.

    • BK

      Young, low-cost productive players are the most valuable commodity in MLB. So, I’d like to see the Reds move a veteran player to open up room for India at the trade deadline. Most teams seem to be very “cash flow” conscious right now and trade returns for vets have been very low. By mid-summer, more fans should be in the stands and MLB as a whole should be getting closer to normal cash flows. As team economics improve, I’m hoping competitive teams are willing to take on a contracts if the player helps their playoff chances. Result is the Reds make room for India after he’s had a few months at AAA and gain some payroll flexibility in the process. Return for Moustakas would likely be negligible; for Suarez it would be far better than what might have been available this offseason. I see Votto as untradeable.
      Alternatively, an injury to any of the three opens up an immediate spot.

    • Doug Gray

      Teams were able to see video and get analytical data through a “sharing” program – so the other teams did see the guys at the alternate sites for the most part. A few teams did not opt into the program, but I believe 25 did, including the Reds.

  2. Tom

    Before he’s crowned, he can certainly learn more and prove more in aaa for 2021. Let the world come to bear. Something will make sense, injuries, ups, downs, trade proposals, money. Lots and lots of time.

  3. Brian Wichman

    Easy fix…move Suarez to SS, Moustakas to 3B & India to 2B. Reds let to many players waste in the Minors.

    • Park Gentry

      I totally agree. Give the younger ones a shot like the Cardinals do. It works for them.

  4. DaveCT

    Good to see Jonathon finally get a bit more love. I particularly appreciated some very aggressive base running a few games back, going from first to third on a softly hit ball past SS to CF. I believe he has a solid history of getting on base, including HBP. Was it Daytona where he was getting plunked with regularity. India looks like a new man.

  5. Bruce

    I think it’s time to either sit Votto or release him since there is no trade value at this point. Move Suarez or Mouskaks to first and free up a position for India

    • Doug Gray

      Joey Votto posted an above-average OPS+ last year…..

  6. Pete

    As long as Votto can return to some sort of his former self, he won’t sit or be released. I agree w/ Brian W… The Reds screw up so many players w/ their “development,” & then sign either “has-beens” or close “there-to’s” to fill their lineups. The Reds also need to cut bait w/ some hacks that they allow to hang around WAY too long (see Senzel, Aquino, Finnegan, et al).