Jonathan India has officially made the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster. While the entire roster is not out yet – we’ll post it once it is available, though it’s not expected until Thursday as the team is waiting on a decision about Joey Votto and whether or not he’s ready to begin the season on the active roster (first reported by C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic) – we have learned much of the roster through various reports. For Jonathan India, we learned it unofficially when Eugenio Suárez spoke about him earlier this afternoon with the media, saying “that’s why he made the team” at one point. The team officially announced the move just before 2pm ET.
“It’s a crazy feeling,” said India of making the team. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was 4-years-old playing this game. To be in this position right now still hasn’t hit me. It won’t really hit me until tomorrow when we’re under the lights and playing. It’s a blessing. I’m not going to let this opportunity slip. I’m going to be here for a while.”
For anyone who paid attention during spring training, this isn’t a surprise. While heading into camp, Jonathan India wasn’t in the position to make the roster, once the team decided to try and go with Eugenio Suárez at shortstop, sliding Mike Moustakas to third, it opened up second base. Nearly every day moving forward from that point it was India starting at second base. The team had a clear plan at that point to get both India and Suárez time up the middle together.
“We’re pretty comfortable together,” India said of he and Eugenio Suárez. “We’re both athletes, so we mesh pretty well. We both played third, we’re both smart infielders as well. We know how to communicate – we’re pretty solid up the middle for now.”
March went well for Jonathan India at the plate, too. He wound up getting into 22 games in spring training and racked up 59 plate appearances, hitting .313/.441/.604 with five doubles, three homers, two steals, seven walks, and he struck out 12 times. He was also hit by four pitches.
For Jonathan India, he credits his time at the alternate site last year as a big piece of his development and getting him ready to take the steps he has and be ready to play in the big leagues this year.
“I was definitely more comfortable this spring playing out there,” India said. “The alternate site helped me a lot, preparing myself, my body, my mental state. It gave me a different look at the game being in that position. I worked on a lot of things there and you can ask the people that were there that I grinded really hard there and I think it made me more prepared for this, mentally, and at the plate and in the field. I just felt very comfortable. The alternate site played a huge role in that and making me more comfortable this year.”
Kudos to the Cincinnati Reds for not playing games with service time here. The team has said this spring that they would pick the 26 best players to go with, not worrying about options and or service time. It seems like they are sticking with that. The team could have “gotten an extra year” down the line of control by keeping Jonathan India in the minors/alternate site for two weeks and then calling him up. They didn’t do that. And with how the division projects, those two weeks could be very important as the race seems to be 1-4 games different between many of the projection systems spots in the NL Central between 1st and 4th place.