As you know, Cincinnati’s 2018 first round pick was Jonathan India, a third baseman from the University of Florida. It has been interesting to watch as the Reds appear to have learned an important lesson from their refusal to try their top prospect, Nick Senzel, at any other position — despite the athleticism to play elsewhere around the diamond — until he was on the verge of the majors.

India played the bulk of his games in his first minor league season at third base, but he also started 13 games at shortstop. He’s been out in the instructional league since the season ended, as you can read about in this profile by Bobby Nightengale. I was glad to see this quote, in particular:

During the instructional league, India was making small adjustments with his swing in his last few days in Arizona. The right-handed hitter received instruction from Barry Larkin, Eric Davis and other coaches after batting practice sessions.

“Just tweaking stuff with my swing a little bit,” India said. “Getting a little bit more reps. Infield-wise, I was working at short a lot. Just finding my footwork.”

Read the entire thing.

I don’t know if India can stick at shortstop, but it increases his potential ceiling if he can. And if he can’t handle the position, it’s best for the Reds to learn that now, rather than waiting until the very moment that he is ready to make his major league debut, like they did with Senzel.

Whether it’s at shortstop, third base, or elsewhere, I have high hopes for India. I eagerly await his Cincinnati debut in September of 2032.

24 Responses

  1. I-71_Exile

    2032 is right around the corner! Wouldn’t want to rush him.

  2. Eddiek957

    Well someone had to play short Montreal once had an infield of four third basemen

  3. Rut

    Have to agree. Reds just don’t have any healthy “top” prospects, save Trammell as you mentioned.

    My read is opposite, though. I just don’t see the ammo for any trade of note, so unlike most Reds fans I just don’t see a good trade environment for the Reds this offseason. Add it to the timing woes of this rebuild, but winter of 18/19 is a sell low point for almost all of Reds prospects, and I don’t think we can get enough for India/Trammell to justify trading either.

    • Aaron Bradley

      I appreciate your logical argument.

  4. Vottomatic125

    I would rather trade Peraza than India. He would likely bring back more combined with some other prospects.

    • Joe Farfsing

      Seriously? Peraza is a league average hitter and a league average fielder. He’s fine but India is a top 60 prospect with legit power, on-base skills and defensive flexibility and several more years of control. Peraza would bring you a back end on the rotation guy and a lottery ticket since he will be entering arbitration.

  5. jtburns11

    In 2020 Votto will make 25 million. Scooter Gennett would have to be given a new contract, so let’s say the Reds give him 10 to 15 million a year to stick around.

    Under your scenario, the Reds would have about 35 to 40 million a year tied into 2 bench players. This will not happen.

  6. Ghettotrout1

    I think thats the exact reason why they are playing him at SS. I think they are going to try and market him as a SS to make him more valuable in trade.

  7. Ghettotrout1

    As much as I hate to watch another bad year I have to agree. Let Hamilton and Scooter roll off the books next year preferably a trade but we know how the Reds like to just let people walk e.g. Cozart. But we should probably focus our attention on 2020.

    • jveith1991

      If the Reds are concerned about saving money with Hamilton and Gennett, they could do so this winter (if Castellini allows it). Hamilton can be non-tendered. Gennett could easily be traded for something, even if it’s just a bullpen piece.

    • bouwills

      Yes, but they didn’t make the qualifying offer to him (which he wouldn’t have accepted). Thus they weren’t awarded the Compensation B pick in last years draft. It’s possible the Reds could be in the same position with Scooter after the 2019 season. Let’s hope they do better this time around.

  8. Dewey Roberts

    Chad, you are an optimist if you think India will make the majors in 2032. I have his debut as no sooner than 2033. He will need about 15 years in the minors before he is ready for the majors. Lol!

  9. larry

    I agree. However, I saw a quote from Bob C that he hopes Hamilton plays his entire career in Cincy. Normally, I’d think this is postering. I don’t think Bob C does that. We may be stuck with Hamilton, in some capacity, for a long time. I wish the owner would back off and let his front office decide who to trade. Of course he has the right on how much to spend. My other wish is that their former g m would disappear from the reds sphere of influence.

    • larry

      I saw the “Hamilton forever” quote in mlb rumers chat of 10-09-18 in response to a inquiry by “Billy Hamilton”.

  10. D Ray White

    RE: The big offseason trade, I don’t believe the Reds are quite there from a strategic point. If the Reds only needed one pitcher to put the rotation over the top I’d say go for it. However, they need at least two, if not three pitchers to rise above the rotational dumpster fire. They’d have to empty the prospect cupboard to get there. Big Bob isn’t going to shell out an MLB average or above average payroll, so big FA pitching signings are out.

    As sad as it is to say, the Reds are better off to look for Mikolas-esque talent and forego the high-priced FA’s, while actively shopping Scooter/Iglesias/Hamilton/Hernandez/Hughes. Relievers are eminently replaceable. Sign a FA stopgap center fielder, let Senzel play 2b, and try to find a serviceable #4-5 starter.

    I hate saying all of this because I’m sick of losing, but the Reds are too far from the upper crust to go all in on a big pitching trade. Doing so might, at best, get the team to .500. Ownership’s bungling of the last 4 seasons has put the team in this position. They’ve wasted a significant chunk of Votto’s HoF career with sentimental scrubs and bobble head extravaganzas.

    • jveith1991

      The Reds definitely need to acquire two starting pitchers who will slot in at the top of their rotation in 2019 and beyond. After those two, I believe the Reds will use a combination of Castillo, DeSclafani, and one more from their remaining options. The question is whether the Reds want to shell out $18-$20 million a year for Keuchel or Corbin (who are both almost 30 years old). Or the Reds could try to trade prospects (India/Trammell) for a pitcher like Syndergaard or deGrom.

      If the Brewers showed anything this year, it’s that you don’t necessarily need a dominant rotation to win if you have an excellent bullpen. Chacin, Miley, and Guerra are all pitchers who have had less than impressive resumes leading up to this season.

  11. jveith1991

    I’ve thought all along that the Reds will end up trading India. If I correctly remember hearing an interview Dick Williams did on WLW shortly after the draft, he even mentioned the possibility of India being used in a trade eventually if the Reds had no place to play him. I am okay with the Reds trading Trammell ***IF*** they sign a free agent CF this winter (someone like AJ Pollock). If they could pry a player like Kevin Kiermaier from the Rays in a trade, that might work too (though that may defeat the point of trading Trammell in the first place).

  12. bouwills

    Perhaps the Miami Marlins are this winter’s Miami Marlins…..for the Reds. I imagine Dan Straily could be acquired by the Reds without forfeiting any of their top 10 prospects. Maybe Hererra & Romano plus a lottery pick from Billings roster. Maybe Friedl, Moss,& Herget. Straily would definitely be an upgrade to the rotation,under team control for a couple years, & most importantly, allow the Reds to target one more TOR pitcher to transform their pitching for the next several years.

    • bouwills

      Simon mistake? The Reds selected Alfredo off waivers the first time. They got him for next to nothing. They then traded him to Detroit for Jonathan Crawford & Eugenio Suarez. That’s far from a mistake. The 2nd time Reds signed him as a FA for $2M, & later released him. Perhaps not financially sound, but the $2M they blew on Simon was less than half the $5.1M he was signed to make the year the Reds traded him & thus didn’t pay. As for Straily, his 4.12 ERA last year was better than any of the Reds sp & his 9 quality starts would have been 2nd among Reds sp, only to Castillo’s 9. He’s definitely a controilable upgrade over the current rotation. This myth that the Reds are going to acquire 2 TOR starters this offseason is just that. They never have & probably never will (at least under present ownership/management). What they need is to find a reasonably reliable starter with a low initial cost (in $$ &/or prospects) and then target 1 (& only 1) TOR starter.

      • bouwills

        Castillo’s 11 not 9 QS (whoops)

  13. earmbrister

    (Very) Recent history:

    Spring of 2016
    Reds starting 3B – Suarez, who was just starting his first full year in Cincy, and who had been moved from SS to 3B. Does anyone remember having issues with his fielding in 2016? As for his hitting, he had an OPS+ of 92 in 2016.

    Reds starting SS: Zack Cozart, is in his second to last year in Cincy. In 121 G, ZC also had an OPS+ of 92. He was backed up for part of the year by Peraza, who as a rookie had an OPS+ of 102. Of course we were (are?) all sold on Jose’s hitting, and fielding, back then (and now).

    Reds starting 2B: A 35 yr. old Brandon Phillips. BP packed his bags for Atlanta in Feb. ’17.

    June 2016
    Reds draft Nick Senzel, who was considered the best pure hitter in the draft, and who had proven in college that he had successfully transitioned to become a quality defensive 3Bman (from SS in HS). Not many believed that Senzel could play SS in MLB, though he had played some 2B in college.

    Spring of 2017
    In late March of 2017, the Reds picked Scooter Gennett off the scrap heap of waivers. When the 2017 minor league season started, Senzel played 3B. Why wouldn’t he? He was a quality 3Bman, and Suarez hadn’t proved much of anything yet. Suarez had been a SS in 2014 and 2015, and hadn’t inspired a ton of confidence in 2016 at his new position, the hot corner.

    Meanwhile, the Reds had no real 2Bman in March/April of 2017. BP was now a Brave. Scooter was a recently picked up waiver claim. Peraza had played some 2B, and would start 69 games there in 2017, while an oft injured Cozart started 112 G at SS. Dilson Herrara was doing what he does best: a year largely lost to the DL.

    Spring of 2018
    3B: Suarez, after posting a OPS+ of 92 in ’16, had his coming out party in ’17, with an OPS+ of 115, and o’WAR/d’WARs of 3.2 and 0.8. He cashed in with a multi year contract extension. Just 8 games into the ’18 season Suarez broke his thumb. Some thought was given to bringing Senzel up, but the Reds opted for the extra year of control.

    SS: Peraza was handed the reins at SS, after playing behind Cozart in 2017.

    2B: In 2017, Scooter had an OPS+ of 123, after recording OPS+s of 84 and 91 in 2015 and 2016, respectively. He started 87 games at 2B in 2017. He had what many considered a career year in 2017, but one that he probably would not duplicate. Of course, the Reds had Dilson as a backup plan. Yeah, they were a bit suspect at 2B.

    With Suarez now entrenched at 3B, and with a good prognosis on Suarez’s broken thumb, Senzel started playing 2B in AAA. Unfortunately, in early May Senzel came down with vertigo. He lost a few weeks to the condition before he was able to return at the end of May. Three weeks later, on June 22, Senzel tore a tendon in his finger and was done for the minor league year.

    June 2018
    The Reds draft Johnathan India, who was considered perhaps the best all around hitter in college this spring. He played a lot of 3B in college, but his athleticism, instincts, and strong arm indicate that he could be able to handle SS in MLB.

    Meanwhile, Scooter did the unexpected and followed up his very good 2017 with a very good 2018. Of course, come the trading deadline, Scooter got hurt and was damaged goods at the time. I personally wanted the Reds to trade Gennett at the deadline for starting pitching. He played through the injury and posted great numbers on the year. Raise your hand if you thought that Scooter would contend for the batting title this year. Anyone? Gennett genuinely seems to want to stay in Cincy. With a bum arm, he’s now not a good candidate to move to a corner OF spot. Second base is Gennett’s.

    With Suarez laying claim to 3B, and Gennett staking out 2B, the Reds now have Senzel learning the OF. Having missed the majority of the ’18 season to injury, the team had him in the OF in the fall instructional league.

    After Jonathan India signed in early July, he was able to start 32 games at 3B and 8 games at SS. He began his professional career in the Rookie leagues and then was promoted to A ball. He struggled a bit at the plate, hitting .240 combined for the year, and only .229 in 27 games at the A level. Given the short year, and his offensive struggles, I don’t have any real problem with him getting more work at 3B, his position in college. Why make a difficult transition even more difficult with a position change? Now that his short initial season is over, the Reds had India working at SS in the fall instructional league.

    I don’t buy the narrative that the Reds mismanaged Senzel’s transition from 3B. He was only drafted in June of 2016 after all. Suarez moved to 3B in 2016, and didn’t initially excel there. That is why it made perfect sense for Senzel to start 2017 at 3B (he had his first full minor league season in 2017 folks). Suarez had his first quality year in 2017, and thus got the big contract extension last off season. He broke his thumb 8 games into this season, and didn’t return until mid May, when he proceeded to tear up MLB offensively. Suarez’s defense is just adequate, but his bat will keep him at 3B. Scooter didn’t lay claim to 2B until this year. Thus Senzel, after an injury plagued (44 games) year, needs to move on from his anticipated move to 2B and into the OF. Senzel is a 23 yr old kid, and only has 231 MiLB games under his belt. He won’t be 24 until mid 2019, and it stands to reason that, barring injury, he will be in the MLB OF sometime next year.

    India played in a whopping 44 games this year. It’s not going to make a bit of difference whether he started a dozen or two more games at SS this year or not. He’s got to spend more time at A (where he hit .229) and/or A+, before moving on to AA, then AAA. India will have plenty (hundreds) of MiLB games, and with the present composition of the MLB team, you can be sure that the lion’s share of his time going forward will be at SS.

    The construction of the infield (both present and future) the past two and a half years has been quite solid. If you want to gripe about the Reds FO, you might want to look elsewhere. Starting pitching anyone? ? I, for one, don’t have a problem with a Barnhart, Votto, Gennett, India, Suarez, Senzel, Schebler (or Trammel), and Winker lineup. Lots of offense, and enough defense to get the job done.