Jonathan India has not yet played this spring. The 2021 National League Rookie of the Year missed time last season with plantar fasciitis and he dealt with it over the winter, too. That led to a delay in his readiness for spring training, but he’s been working his way back and Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell told Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer that India is on track to debut on Friday.

Friday night the Reds will play the Los Angeles Dodgers at 8:05pm ET. That game will be available to watch on MLB Network. Where Jonathan India will play will be interesting to see. He’s only played second base in his big league career. In college he played third base, and in the minor leagues he saw time at third and second (and a very small bit of time at shortstop). Cincinnati has had him working in the corner outfield spots, as well as second base, because India seems to have lost his every day second base gig to Matt McLain.

The Reds plan for now appears to be to have India rotating around a few positions, as well as serve as the designated hitter role. Mixing-and-matching him against certain types of pitchers and filling in when some guys made need an off day could still get him plenty of playing time, but that’s also a role that several others on the team are going to be serving in. If everyone remains relatively healthy, David Bell and his coaching staff are going to have an interesting job when it comes to finding enough playing time for a handful of guys who are platooning-type of guys along with India.

A new Reds Top 30 Prospect List

The crew over at MLB Pipeline released their 2024 Top 30 Cincinnati Reds prospects list on Tuesday. Noelvi Marte headlines the list, and four other Reds prospects made the Top 100. But if you’re interested in seeing who the other 25 players on the list are and reading a bit about them, then here’s the link to check it out. Five players on the list have yet to make their professional debut – three from 2023’s draft and two more from the club’s international signings in January.

13 Responses

  1. Doc

    Curious whether he is pain-free and totally healed, or not.

  2. wkuchad

    “but that’s also a role that several others on the team are going to be serving in”

    I think we’ll see less of this in 2024. I see both Steer and India serving in this role, and to a lesser extent Barrero (lesser, meaning from a playing time stand point).

    Everyone else has a primary position they’ll play. Several have a secondary position they’ll play a little. But I think it’s clear EDLC is main SS, McLain is main 2B, and CES is main 1B. Candelario and Marte will both be getting time at 3B and DH, with Candy getting a little time at 1B.

    India and Steer will play a lot of outfield against lefty starters, and spot start in the infield on occasion versus righties.

    This is assuming everyone starts the year healthy.

    This is just all fun speculation though.

    • Phil

      “Everyone else has a primary position they’ll play. Several have a secondary position they’ll play a little. ”

      This is the way I see it as well:
      McLain primarily 2B but can fill in at SS
      EDLC primarily SS but can see time at 3B
      CES primarily at 1B but some games at DH
      Candelario primarily DH but also spend time at 1B and 3B
      India sees time at 2B, LF and DH (but probably not primary option at any)

    • Doug Gray

      Benson, Fraley, Candelario, CES – they’re all going to do the DH thing at times. Benson and Fraley probably won’t play much against lefties. Candelario probably plays some 3B/1B.

      I think the only guys who won’t be spending a lot of time at multiple spots will be EDLC, McLain, Friedl, and Stephenson.

  3. LDS

    Good to see India and McLain back. Still not sure that trading him wouldn’t have been a better move. Then again, he needs to build up some trade value. Pitching still needs work and something has to give as the season progresses.

  4. Brian

    I still think that the only real way that India is a plus to the team is if 1 or 2 players are hurt all year. Otherwise, a better player will sit for him. Also, Arroyo and Dunn aren’t too far off but there’s already a log jam. Hopefully he doesn’t impede the development of Marte, Strand and Benson but we all know how Bell loves to spread out playing time. Eventually it will cause more than one guy some animosity.
    It’s hard enough for guys to get into a hitting groove, only to be sit because it’s time to play musical chairs.
    It could work with multiple injuries but will probably backfire if not.

  5. Optimist

    With the latest Lodolo non-status, it’s looking like he’s on the IL to begin the season. Also think Barrero and Stu make the 26-man with either India or McLain on the IL. That may be fine for April, on offense and the mound, but I expect they’ll pickup several pitchers after the waivers hit. It would be nice to sign one of the FA’s to an incentive loaded deal, though doubtful.

    Also expect to see Hurtubise earlier than June, and look for either or both of Hinds/Dunn to have a good start in AAA since they’re next in line.

  6. MBS

    The biggest questions to me on who plays where is Marte’s/Candelario’s role. The Candelario signing seems to be at odds with Marte claiming a full time position. I’m guessing Candelario will be the starting 3B 80% of the time.

    However if they signed Candy to play the utility role, maybe Marte gets that 80% role at 3B. Candelario 20% 3B, 20% 1B, 40% DH? It just seems unlikely that Candy will spend half of his time DH’ing, and the other half as the backup to Marte and CES.

    Obviously injuries can alter any plan, but it’s difficult to figure out how Krall wants to use these 2 players.

    • Brian

      MBS, I think that I remember Bell saying that Candy would be an everyday player. That would mean that one of CES or Marte will have to complete with India and an outfielder for AB’s at DH.
      I think that India will have foot issues on and off all year and McLain will probably miss extended time too. Counting on Lodolo for any substantial innings has always been absolutely foolish.
      The Reds have a solid team, I just hope that the best talent gets priority and that isn’t India.

  7. Melvin

    I don’t have a good feeling about India. Here’s to hoping he’s completely healthy and pain free.

  8. Justin T

    Ill never understand the India thing. He seems to me like the guy you put at second base (when healthy) and let him go. Even if he is 100 percent he wasn’t going to be an everyday starter and that makes no sense to me. He finds ways to cross the plate and has his entire brief career. Has the intangibles. Just seems like they have tried to move on from him for a couple years now.

    • Brian

      Justin, he’s a negative up the middle of the infield. He’s poor defensively in a hitters park and that doesn’t bode well for the pitching staff. He doesn’t hit well enough in a hitters park to make up for his defensive woes. He seems to have heart and wants to win but he doesn’t seem as talented as the other guys. There are indications that his bad wheel will linger. He does deserve to compete for playing time, he deserves that but his game doesn’t look good enough to block the growth of guys with higher potential. I hope he’s healthy enough to compete but that he isn’t handed a job if he isn’t vastly improved in the field. Basically, his bat is passable but it isn’t big enough to suck in the field.

    • Optimist

      Agree with Brian on the defensive liability, but recall he was a 3bman stuck in the “behind Suarez” logjam along with Senzel. Candelario seems to me the transitional figure, in that if he performs well into next season he’s a trade candidate. If so, work India around the field, but include 3b to see if his defense is more passable there. If he rallies at all to his ROY form, he’s more valuable to extend, beyond the resigning just completed.