It’s award season in some places and the Cincinnati Reds have their first one. Second baseman Jonathan India has been named as the Rookie of the Year by Baseball America for what he did in 2021. Unlike the award that is handed out by Major League Baseball as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America, or the award handed out by the Players Association which is voted on by the players – Baseball America only gives out one Rookie of the Year award and it’s for all of MLB, not just the American or National League.
After not even being in big league camp when spring training began (he was in “early minor league camp”) Jonathan India turned heads out in Goodyear and officially got a big league invite to spring training with the Reds in mid-March. He just continued to impress and made his way onto the opening day roster.
By the time the season was complete, India’s name was all over the rookie leaderboards in Major League Baseball. In his 150 games played on the season he hit .269/.376/.459 with 98 runs scored, 69 runs driven in, 34 doubles, 2 triples, 21 home runs, 12 steals, 71 walks, and he led all of baseball in pitches that found his body with 23. According to Baseball Reference and Fangraphs he put up a 3.9 WAR.
Everything that was asked of Jonathan India by the club, he came through on. Learn second base? Sure, no problem. Move into the leadoff role midseason? Let’s do this.
While he had always had some raw power in the minor leagues, he hadn’t tapped into it in games frequently. Part of that was that he always seemed to have some sort of nagging injury while playing in the minors. But with some better health during the year he was a bit of an extra-base hit machine. He led all rookies in doubles and was second in extra-base hits with 57.
Next week the Players Choice awards will be announced and India is up for the National League’s Most Outstanding Rookie. In just over two weeks the Rookie of the Year Award will be announced by Major League Baseball. They say that three is the magic number. If I had to bet on it, I’d say I’d bet on India having all three pieces of hardware with his name engraved on them before the year is over.
Disclosure: I write for Baseball America, but did not vote for the awards.