The Reds’ first round pick in the 2018 June Amateur draft, Jonathan India broke onto the scene in explosive fashion coming off a red-hot season his senior year at University of Florida where he mashed .350/.497/.717 with 21 home runs and 15 stolen bases. Obviously, that kind of other-worldly performance wasn’t going to last, and predictably he returned to earth as he began his professional career at rookie ball and low A in 2018, hitting just .240/.380/.433 with 6 home runs and 6 stolen bases. Scouts weren’t phased by the regression, still liking his sound mechanics, above-average bat to ball skills and patient plate approach.
In 2019 he began to find his footing, improving his batting average to .257 plus 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases, though his OBP and SLG dipped a little (.364 and .399). The biggest question mark with India is whether he will develop any in-game power like he had when he was at the University of Florida.
|2018||21||3 Teams||3 Lgs||A-Rk||CIN||44||184||150||29||6||23||6||1||28||44||.240||.380||.433|
|2019||22||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A+-AA||CIN||121||512||428||74||11||44||11||5||59||110||.259||.365||.402|
|AA (||AA (||AA (||AA (||Minors||34||145||111||24||3||14||4||0||22||26||.270||.414||.378|
|A+ (||A+ (||A+ (||A+ (||Minors||87||367||317||50||8||30||7||5||37||84||.256||.346||.410|
|A (1||A (1||A (1||A (1||Minors||27||112||96||17||3||11||5||0||13||28||.229||.339||.396|
|Rk (||Rk (||Rk (||Rk (||Minors||17||72||54||12||3||12||1||1||15||16||.259||.444||.500|
While it’s certainly true that the Florida State League is notoriously pitcher-friendly (he currently plays for A+ Daytona), India notably wasn’t knocking too many out of the park during his stints in the Appy League, Pioneer League, and the Midwest League. His ISO has been rather pedestrian throughout his minor league career so far, which confirms my suspicion that his exorbitant numbers during his college days were an anomaly, and that big in-game power is not going to be his calling card; instead, my expectation for him (barring him suddenly adding a lot of muscle) is that he will be an everyday starting third baseman who will contribute good average, solid OBP with that advanced plate discipline and patient approach, and a modest number of stolen bases and home runs. On the other hand, we have seen guys who didn’t have much power initially come into it over time, so we’ll just have to see. But I wouldn’t put all my eggs into that basket yet.
On the positive side, a bonus for fantasy owners is that India may afford you some roster flexibility, as I think there’s at least an outside chance of him gaining multiple position eligibility (depending of course on what the Reds’ infield situation looks like when India gets called up); although India has mostly played third base, he has spent time at both shortstop (18 games) and second base (5 games).
In summary, while it seems unlikely that India will return to putting up those eye-popping numbers from his college days, I still believe he will be an above-average everyday player who will, at the very least, contribute solidly to your AVG and OBP with a smattering of home runs and stolen bases. Jonathan India only played 145 games at AA last year, so I believe he will start the season at AA and move up to AAA by summer, and arrive in the majors next year, should he continue on his current trajectory.
Current Prospect Ranking
|Prospects1500 (October 2019)||#62|
|Prospects Live (February 2020)||#79|
|Fangraphs (February 2020)||Unranked (120 prospects listed)|
|MLB Pipeline (February 2020)||Unranked (100 prsopects listed)|
Comments from around the Industry
there’s still some uncertainty about game power and whether he’ll steal much but it seems a safe bet to project him for solid average and OBP at the very least
He’s shown strong plate discipline and a keen ability to put the bat on the ball, but has to this point struggled to tap into his raw power in games. That power will ultimately define his ceiling.
While it is starting to look like the power output from his last year in college was an outlier, India’s advanced approach at the plate makes him worth rostering, especially in OBP leagues
In my opinion, [India’s] junior year at Florida really looks like the outlier when you take a step back and look at the whole body of work.</blockquote)
Rudie Verougstraete is the Cincinnati Reds correspondent at Prospects1500. He lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife Shelly who is the Washington Nationals correspondent. He has been an avid baseball fan since 2015, participates in multiple fantasy baseball leagues, and attends Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants AA affiliate) and Washington Nationals games whenever he can! His favorite baseball function is First Pitch Arizona, a fantasy baseball conference hosted by Baseball HQ every year just outside Phoenix.