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.

32 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Well done, RoY India!! I’d be stunned if the awards don’t keep rolling in. He’s something special and we all saw that.

  2. CFD3000

    Well deserved, and a nice recognition. He should sweep all three ROY awards, but more importantly he has only just begun what will hopefully be a ling, successful career with the Reds.

  3. Alan Horn

    Well deserved. He and Stephenson are a big part of our future.

  4. Jim Walker

    How about a little bit of fun comparison with another Reds player who won RoY honors playing at 2nd base? That guy was a league average hitter in his rookie year (OPS+/wRC+ ratings of 101/103) and earned 2.0 bWAR. By comparison, India posted
    113/122 OPS+/wRC+ rankings good for 3.9 bWAR this year.

    The “That guy” above is none other than Pete Rose.

    • Jim

      I really like India, all around player, our only base stealer, hope we can lock him in for a good time period.

    • Alan Horn

      He plays with a lot of fire like Rose did. If he goes on to play anything like Rose over the long haul, we have got a good one. Two things India has on Rose seems to be power and speed though Rose used his speed to great advantage. I predict India’s HR production will rise going forward.

      • Jim Walker

        The power could really serve him (and some team) well in the future with added positional flexibility. We already know he can play 3B and 2B which means 1B should be a simple adjustment and even more, he seems to have the tools to play corner OF which is where the power and especially gap power would really be a factor.

      • Alan Horn

        True, but he plays 2B so well I am hesitant to move him anytime soon. He has so much range at 2B. He came up as a third baseman and it is tempting to move him back to make room for Lopez, Schrock or even Farmer, but all of those can play 3B as well, so it would be senseless to mess with India at 2B. Plus, none of the others have his range.

      • Jim Walker

        @Alan>> For now I certainly agree with just leaving India where he is at, 2B. In fact, I almost didn’t hit the send button on that comment because I did NOT want to plant the idea of moving him to corner OF if/ when Castellanos opts out. But at age 24, his body is likely to thicken some in several years and he will lose a step. At that point, his power should open up all corner spots on the field for him.

      • greenmtred

        Jim: I’ve never understood why power is more appropriate for some positions than it is for others. If the Reds had a right fielder who could run and got on base but had little power, and a second baseman who hit lots of homers, why would that not work as well as the reverse?

      • Doug Gray

        In this very specific scenario you laid out, it doesn’t (until one of the guys gets hurt and then you don’t have this scenario). But the reason it matters is because by-and-large guys that historically been capable of playing the defense required up the middle also don’t have the skillset to hit for real power. If you have one of the guys who can do that, it’s generally a game changer.

      • Jim Walker

        @GreenmtResd> I guess what you suggested would work. I think the idea that power guys typically end up at one of the 4 corner spots goes back to the old axiom, if a guy can hit, they will find a place for him to play. The corner spots (1b/3b/LF/RF) are perceived to be the 4 least demanding defensive spots; thus, guys with big bats and questionable defense end up at them, absent a DH option.

        Other than a few spot appearances, Pete Rose was done as a 2B by his age 26 season and aside from around 75 appearances in CF spent the balance of his career as a corner defender at both OF and IF corners.

        Even Cal Ripken who was largely responsible for redefining SS as a position that could provide significant offensive power had to slide over to 3B later in his career when he lost some range and arm strength. He ended up with roughly 20% of his defensive appearances at 3B.

        On the other hand, Jeff Kent was a masher who played through age 40 at 2B with just a sprinkling of 1B and 3B appearances throughout his career.

        Roberto Clemente of course was the whole package on both sides of the ball in RF.

  5. Tomn

    For the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to see the Reds in pre-season with a trip to Phoenix. What a thrill. And as soon as I saw India performing out there, I thought – and I said, I believe on this site, that if India wasn’t on the Reds roster there should be rioting in downtown Cincinnati. I never knew he’d be this good, only that he was a player.

    Hope he’s with the Reds a real long time! He and Stephenson both. And you can add Gutierrez, Santillan and Moreta too!

    • Alan Horn

      I saw him several years ago when he first came up to AA. He had just gotten to AA and was playing 3B. I have to admit that I didn’t see what he has become though it was a very small sample size. I think he took off fairly recently.

      • Jim Walker

        Folks who had access to or sources at the Prasco Field alternate site in 2020 say that’s where it happened for India. He was typically an early arriver, late leaver, all ears to coaching, and busted his tail every day per reports.

  6. Tim

    He will sell a lot of shirts with his name in n them. Really enjoyed watching him this season. Way to go India

  7. Redsvol

    Congrats India. I really hope he gets the MLB award too. If Barrero, Lopez, Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, Moreta, And San Martin all play and play reasonably well in 2022 then we have some exciting times coming folks.

  8. TR

    Congratulations to Jonathon India. He plays the game the right way. India is a big win for the Reds.

  9. LT

    I Have not been this happy reading Reds news in a long time. Congratulations JI. Please stay grounded and stay hungry.

  10. Doc

    I am pleased for India and for the Reds.

    I am also pleased that a bunch of GM wannabes on this site were flat out wrong, the ones who were constantly trying to get rid of him via trade and calling drafting him in the first round just another bust and example of the FO not knowing what they are doing. Apparently they knew a lot better than did the posters to the site.

    • David

      I think the very top draft picks are on a lot of things; who the player played with and the competition, the potential for improvement, attitude, intelligence, etc.

      In retrospect, Bernie Carbon was drafted AHEAD of Johnny Bench in the same year (1965?).
      Bernie had a very good 1970 season (Rookie of the Year) and then….nothing much the rest of his career.
      That Bench guy, I remember him a little. 🙂

      Jonathon India did this with his ability and his personal drive to excel. The personal drive is something that you can’t coach or always quantify, but it does show up. Among equals in ability, it makes ALL the difference.
      Jonathon appears to have a lot of it.

      • indyDoug

        While clearly Bench was better, Carbo did do much more after his rookie season. Career numbers of .264/.387/.427/.814 with an OPS+ of 126. Not too shabby.

      • indyDoug

        And Bench’s stats eerily similar… .267/.342/.476/.817 126 OPS+. Not saying Carbo + Bench but this was surprising excluding OWAR and defense

    • 2020ball

      A lot of credit due to the Reds decision makers for his breakout this year and how they handled him. Hoping they find another breakout type next spring, and there are plenty of candidates in the system right now.

    • Alan Horn

      So true on that personal drive David. Rose had it and I see it in India.

  11. Mark

    India was awesome this year!
    Anyone think Kyle Schwarber would be a good RF option if Castellanos leaves the Reds?

    • BK

      I think he should be #2 on the Red’s list right after Castellanos. Although he’s LH, he hits LHP. He’s more defensively limited so it probably means Winker moves to RF where his arm is more exposed … but Schwarber can hit a baseball and the Reds need a ‘force’ like him or NC in their lineup.

    • TR

      If Schwarber is available, get him for the outfield or DH. I’m sure he’d love playing for his favorite team growing up in Middletown.

  12. DaveCT

    One half season of Jose Barrero at SS will serve to make folks forget Kyle Farmer, very fondly, I might add.

    But this kid will begin to dazzle. And there won’t be much turning back.

    He’s fall fishing with Larkin, or so it was forecast. It’s cold out there, folks.

    Lark isn’t turning back, or so I suspect. Haha. Fingers get cold.

    • TR

      A half season of Jose Barrero at SS, and not centerfield, will depend on whose making out the daily lineup.

  13. RedsGettingBetter

    I still remember some people bringing up trading to India in the 2019 offseason. I think it was in a package of players to try adquiring Lindor for a year control only. Now, it is seen as it would had been something insane.