The Reds announced Wednesday that 2018 No. 5 overall draft pick Jonathan India has made their Opening Day roster. He’ll need to be added to the Reds’ 40-man roster to make the move official.
At this point, India winning a spot shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s been apparent that the Reds expected him to play a prominent role in their infield since the club decided to move Eugenio Suarez back to shortstop and slide Mike Moustakas over to third base. India will likely open the season as Cincinnati’s everyday second baseman on the heels of a .313/.441/.604 showing through 59 spring plate appearances.
Headed into the 2019 season, the now-24-year-old India ranked among the game’s Top 100 prospects at Baseball America, MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs. At the time, India was regarded as a potential above-average defender at the hot corner who also possessed an above-average hit tool and above-average to plus raw power. His stock has tumbled a bit since then, however, despite a solid showing between two pitcher-friendly levels in 2019 — .259/.365/.402 between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. He still ranks third among Reds farmhands at Baseball America, fifth at MLB.com and seventh at FanGraphs.
India hasn’t shown much of that raw power since being drafted, although he’s of course only had one full minor league season due to last year’s circumstances. He still has just 145 plate appearances of Double-A experience under his belt and none in Triple-A, so he’ll be making a fairly substantial leap to the big leagues with today’s announcement. That said, India did homer three times and collect five doubles in his 59 Cactus League plate appearances, and his power could be aided by playing his home games at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. At the very least, he gives the Reds an intriguing collection of bats in the infield, even if there are some questions surrounding the group’s defensive outlook.