India played high school baseball at American Heritage High School in Delray Beach, FL. He committed to play his college ball at the University of Florida. He's a good student.
Jonathan hit .410 with 25 stolen bases as a senior. He also was a part of what may go down as one of the best high school infields ever. American Heritage also had Lucius Fox, a native of the Bahamas who returned to his homeland to sign for $6 million with the Giants as an international free agent, and Tyler Frank, who went on to Florida Atlantic.
His father, John India, also was a Gator.
The Gators advanced to the College World Series in all three of India’s seasons in Gainesville and won the championship in 2017.
India, a sophomore, went 2-for-4 with a double in the championship-clinching game.
In 2015, the Brewers chose India in the 26th round, out of high school in South Florida. But Jonathan did not sign, instead becoming a Florida Gator.
Jonathan has a lively, athletic build. And he plays the game as hard as anybody. He is a real team guy and a tough competitor. His tools all play up due to his high baseball IQ and work ethic.
India needed to lose a few pounds. “I was 195 pounds over the 2014 summer,” India said. “Scouts were telling me to lose some weight, not really lose weight, but get more muscle. I trained at this place called Impact Sports Performance. I do agility, I did a lot of strength training, I did a lot of just movements using my feet, getting quicker in the field. They’ve helped me so much. That’s why I look the way I do now and I feel so good out there.”
Being leaner allows him to move better and it’s a credit to his work ethic, following through on critiques he heard from scouts. (Rode - PBR - 3/17/15)
In 2018, during the regular season with the Florida Gators, Jonathan was the SEC Player of the Year after he batted .365 with 16 home runs and 40 RBIs in 54 games. A native of Coral Springs, Florida, India was semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award.
June 2018: The Reds chose India in the first round (#5 overall), out of the Univ. Florida.
India signed for a $5.3 million bonus. He spent the day in Cincinnati and took a physical before coming over to the ballpark.
"It's amazing. It's a dream come true of mine," India said. "It's the next step in my life, to have worked so hard for. It's taken a lot of sacrifices to get here. I'm so happy it finally came to this day. I'm ready to get going." India, 21, will report to rookie-level Greeneville later this week to get his pro career started. (Sheldon - mlb.com - 7/3/18)
"He's got an advanced offensive approach," said Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams. "To do what he did this year in the best conference in the nation speaks to his ability. He's got a hit tool, but with more power than some of the other guys we were looking at it in that same range. [He is a] very good defensive player, that will serve him well given some flexibility with him in terms of moving him around. But he's played a very good third base and we took a good close look at that as well. I think we've got a kid who moves quick."
Many players never forget where they were standing or sitting when they were taken in the MLB draft. As it happened during the 2018 draft, Jonathan was standing on first base after earning a walk when the Reds selected him with the fifth overall pick.
India, who was playing with the Florida Gators in the NCAA regional tournament, was not immediately available to discuss his future with Cincinnati. As he spoke about it, he realized that something was happening even before the plate appearance.
"I saw my family and friends where they usually sit, and I just saw them all hugging," India said. "I was like, 'That's pretty weird. I guess something good happened.' Then a bunch of fans started to yell and stuff. Yeah, I definitely knew during the game.
"I'm trying to focus on the game and play, and I hear that stuff, which is awesome. So I'm happy."
Back in Gainesville, Fla., India was just keeping his emotions from getting out of whack. "Stay humble and I still have a goal to finish to win a national championship for the team," India said. "Not think ahead and finish my season out." (Sheldon - mlb.com - 6/5/18)
2018 season: In 44 minor league games, which includes games at rookie-level Greeneville and Billings, the 21-year-old India hit .240 with six homers and 23 RBI. He owned a .380 on-base percentage, drawing 28 walks compared to 44 strikeouts.
In 2019, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated India as the 4th-best prospect in the Reds' organization. He moved up to #2, behind only Hunter Greene, in 2020 . And he was at #3 a year later, in 2021.
2019 Season: After a solid first full season of professional baseball, the Reds sent Jonathan India to the Arizona Fall League to further develop his game and potentially expedite his path to the Majors.
India reached Double-A late in 2019 and didn’t take long to adjust to the increase in competition as he hit .270/.414/.378 over 34 games.
“Just becoming a complete hitter, just keep working on the stuff I need to work on,” India said when asked about his goals and mindset.
India certainly has the tools to develop into a complete hitter, which is why the Reds regarded him so highly coming out of Florida. The 22-year-old has an advanced approach at the plate, as well as good plate discipline and the ability to hit for average.
While India isn’t considered a slugger, he flashes above-average power and did hit 11 homers and total 34 extra-base hits in his first full season (121 games).
The No. 94 overall prospect can also provide the Reds some defensive versatility as his above-average arm and fielding skills allow him to play all over the diamond. India was a third baseman in college and that’s primarily where he’s played as a professional, but he has seen game action at both second base and shortstop as well.
“I enjoy anywhere in the infield,” India said. “I’m a versatile player. I can play anywhere in the field, honestly. So, whatever it takes.” (W Boor - MLB.com - Oct 1, 2019)
In the offseason, Jonathan lives in Coral Springs, Florida, with his parents, John and Elizabeth. He grew up a Mets and Jets fan, because his dad was originally from Long Island.
2020 Season: Jonathan India was one of the prospects from the alternate training site at Prasco Park last season who really seemed to take a step forward and was impressive. With half of a season under his belt in Double-A in 2019 and an ability to play multiple positions, he’s probably the position player among the group that is most surprising that didn’t get a big league invite.
March 31, 2021: After some infield maneuvering by the Reds, the roster seemed to line up in prospect Jonathan India’s favor. Still, nothing feels better than getting the official word. India has made Cincinnati’s Opening Day roster as its second baseman.
“It’s a crazy feeling. It’s something I dreamed about since I was 4 years old playing this game,” India said. “To be in this position right now, it still hasn’t really hit me. I’m here. It won’t really hit me, until I’m under the lights and playing. It’s a blessing for me. I’m not going to let this opportunity slip, and I’m going to be here for a while.”
India, the club’s No. 5 prospect, will be the first Reds second baseman to make his Major League debut on Opening Day since Pete Rose in 1963. When Spring Training opened, India wasn’t even part of big league camp, so his chances of reaching the Majors this soon appeared remote. But as part of the early Minor League camp roster of extra players that could be used in Cactus League games, he did not waste his chances.
India, now the youngest player on the 26-man roster at 24, batted .313/.441/.604 with three home runs in 22 games. On March 12, he was added to the big league camp as a non-roster player. The club moved Eugenio Suárez from third base to shortstop, and Mike Moustakas from second base to third base. India’s performance made the club comfortable with him manning second base.
“He knows what he’s doing. He can hit,” Suárez said of India. “That’s why he made this team. That’s why he’s here with us. He’s got big talent. He knows how to hit. He showed how he hits in Spring Training, and I hope he does a really good job here in the regular season. Of course, it’s going to be different. But I think he’s got mental strength. And the talent is more important. I think he’s going to be really good with us.”
Manager David Bell delivered the good news to India.
“It was kind of emotional. He was just very proud of me,” India said. “It’s something I’ll never forget. That conversation really got to me, and I’m not an emotional person, but I teared up with a feeling of being on a team and what I went through this Spring Training. It was a great convo that I’ll never forget.”
India has shed the No. 71 he wore in spring and was given No. 6, the number he wore for the University of Florida.
“I’ve been No. 6 my whole life. Six was a huge number for me, and I’m so happy I got it,” India said. “Thank you to Rick Stowe [senior director, clubhouse operations] for that, because that wasn’t open until the last minute. I’m very grateful, and I’m going to wear that number with a lot of pride because that’s my number.”
He spent 2020 at the Reds’ alternate site in Mason, Ohio. That experience of facing pitchers at a higher level proved beneficial heading into 2021.
“I was definitely more comfortable this spring playing out there,” India said. “I think it was because of the alternate site. It helped me a lot, preparing myself, my body, my mental state. It gave me a different look at the game at that position. I worked on a lot of things there, and you can ask the people there that I grinded really hard there. It made me more prepared for Spring Training, mentally, at the plate and in the field.” (M Sheldon - MLB.com - March 31, 2021)
2021 Season: India's 34 doubles ranked as the 24th most in all baseball. His 98 runs scored ranked 18th in all MLB), his 71 walks 24th. Only Ty France and Mark Canha (27 each) were hit more often than India’s 23 plunkings, all of which propelled him to the 8th best OBP in all of baseball (.376).
His .835 OPS was tied with Kris Bryant and .001 behind Manny Machado, ranking just ahead of Justin Turner (.832) and Nelson Cruz (.831). All told, that was good for a 4.0 fWAR rookie campaign. All year, India was a presence, typically at the top of the Reds’ lineup, and he led all qualified rookies with his .376 on-base percentage and was second with his .835 OPS. He topped the list with 71 walks and 34 doubles and landed third in that group with 244 total bases. He also was among rookie leaders in homers (21) and steals (12).
Nov 15, 2021: Jonathan India put it out into the universe during spring, and now it can be written.
The Reds' second baseman was named the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year. In voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, India received 29 of the 30 first-place votes and one second-place vote for 148 points.
“That was just one thing that came to my mind at Spring Training,” India said from his hometown in South Florida. “I could have said, ‘I want to hit 40 homers, or I want to get MVP,’ but that was the one thing that stuck to me before I started the year was, ‘You know what? I am going to win Rookie of the Year this year.’ I said it on interviews. I just had a feeling that was what I wanted, and I was going to accomplish it.”
India, 24, is the eighth Reds player to win the award and the first since reliever Scott Williamson in 1999. Third baseman Chris Sabo was the club’s last position player to win it, in 1988. Pete Rose was the last second baseman from Cincinnati to win the award, in 1963.
Marlins pitcher Trevor Rogers received the lone remaining first-place vote, 26 second-place votes and three for third place for 86 points. Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson was third with three second-place votes and 13 for third place and 22 points. (M Sheldon - MLB.com - N0v 15, 2021)
- 2022 Season: India, 26, batted .249 with a .705 OPS, 10 home runs and 41 RBIs last season while limited to 103 games. An April right hamstring injury put him on the injured list twice for a combined 48 games. In August vs. the Cubs at the Field of Dreams Game in Iowa, he was hit by a pitch on the left shin and had to be airlifted to a hospital. He missed only three games and started a 16-game hitting streak afterwards, but the bone bruise affected him the rest of the season. (Mark Sheldon - Feb. 17, 2023)
|Birth City:||Fort Lauderdale, FL|
|Draft:||Reds #1 - 2018 - Out of Univ. of Florida|
India brings a polished game on both offense and defense. He controls the strike zone and flashes an above-average hit tool (55 grade), although he will go through spells where he swings and misses too much. India shows plus raw power, but evaluators are split whether it will translate into games as he gets more experience. It grades 55 right now.
In 2020, Jonathan took a step forward at the alternate site. He did a better job of driving balls to the opposite field, and in turn his power to left and center field seemed to pick up. India has long had mature at-bats and controlled the strike zone, and the developments increased the confidence he’ll fulfill his potential as an above-average hitter with average or better power. (J.J. Cooper - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2021)
The Reds still very much believe in India's offensive upside. The righthanded hitter, despite otherwise pedestrian numbers, continued to show an advanced approach at the plate and excellent on-base skills in 2019, drawing a ton of walks at both levels. He has good swing mechanics and showed glimpses of the power that was on display his final year at Florida, especially to his pull side. India has average speed, but he's an excellent baserunner who is aggressive on the base-paths. (Spring 2020)
India is an advanced hitter with a line-drive stroke and the ability to make consistent contact. He has good power with some natural lift out front, getting good extension. He has learned to really square the ball up and hit it to any part of the field.
But Jonathan's approach is line drives to the gaps for lots of doubles.
The game doesn’t speed up on him, and he controls his at-bats like a veteran. He has a sound setup at the plate, allowing him to sync up his lower and upper halves. His above-average power and above-average hit tool are excellent fits at third base. (Spring, 2019)
Jonathan is natural hitter. He has a calm and simple load, good shift into contact and has good leverage and timing. His hands explode at the ball, attacking it and pulling it hard for homers.
But India has to work to keep his swing from getting too long. (Oct., 2019)
India has highly impressive hitting tools. He is a steady hitter with very good bat-to-ball skills. He has a real feel for hitting. And by 2018, his improved discipline has made him an offensive force to be reckoned with.
Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan says, "He can drive the ball out of the yard, he can stay in the middle of the field when he needs to, he has a solid two-strike approach. And the other phases of his game are really, really good."
Jonathan learned to go the other way more often in 2018, using the whole field. That allowed him to hit with more authority.
Oct 5, 2019: Reds No. 3 prospect Jonathan India enjoyed every bit of the 23 seconds it took for him to trot around the bases after his solo home run in the third inning of a 2-0 win over the Surprise Saguaros at Peoria Sports Complex. Everyone who has followed his Glendale Desert Dogs squad the fall of 2019 understands why. After a slow start in Arizona Fall League play, it appears India has come around.
“It felt good,” India said of his homer. “I’ve been struggling a lot here, but that’s part of baseball, so I just embrace the struggle and keep going.”
India, who had two hits in his nine previous AFL games, had two hits by the third. He laced a single on the second pitch from Saguaros starter and Yankees prospect Glen Otto in the first and was later caught stealing second base. In the third, India launched the monstrous homer over the bullpen in left field off Otto to give his team a 2-0 lead. India was given a hero’s welcome when he reached the dugout.
India was credited with a single after hitting the ball hard again, this time a ground ball that was deflected by Saguaros shortstop and Orioles prospect Mason McCoy into left field in the fifth inning for his third hit.
After so many near-misses in Arizona this fall, the ball finally bounced India’s way.
“I can’t really tell you what I did differently. I kept everything the same,” India said. “It’s all about the mindset when you are at the plate—believe in yourself and continue to have fun with the game. At the end of the day, it worked out.”
The Desert Dogs are happy to see India's production. India started the AFL season hitless in his first 23 at-bats until he roped a double against the Salt River Rafters on Sept. 29. He was 2-for-35 at one point.
“He struggled at the beginning and nothing was coming his way, but he was always hitting the ball hard,” Desert Dogs manager Luis Bolivar said. “He didn’t get the results he wanted, but it was just a matter of time before it would all come together. We are happy for him and hope that it carries over.”
Overall, India finished 3-for-4. In the previous game, the third baseman had one hit in three at-bats and drove in three runs against the Saguaros to set the stage for the solid day at the plate.
The infielder stayed positive during his struggles, but he admits it wasn't easy.
“It’s the game,” India said. “It’s part of the game. You can’t get down on yourself, just stick with your routine every day and keep grinding it out and have fun with the game.” (J Sanchez - MLB.com - Oct 5, 2019)
2020 Season: When the Reds took India No. 5 overall in the 2018 draft, they hoped the Florida Gators product would bring the advanced power bat he showed during his junior year with him and make a quick ascent to the big leagues. While he did reach Double-A in his first full season in 2019, it didn’t go exactly according to plan as the infielder hit just .259/.365/.402 and really scuffled in the Arizona Fall League (.133/.254/.333).
In India’s defense, he spent most of the year playing through a nagging wrist injury that clearly hampered him, particularly in the power production department. But now that his wrist is 100 percent, the guy at Prasco Park, the Reds’ alternate site in Mason, Ohio, looked like the guy the Reds took in the first round.
“There’s a consistency to his approach,” Reds vice president of player development Shawn Pender said. “We saw an increase in bat speed, an increase in power.”
India was shut down for the last four or five days at the alternate site because of a pulled lat, but he’s already fully recovered and back to preparing for what could be a big 2021 season.
“More than anything, there’s a consistency of driving the ball to all fields,” Pender said. “There’s an overall improvement and maturity in his hitting approach.” (J Mayo - MLB.com - Oct 9, 2020)
- April 7, 2021: India put himself in rarified air by collecting three RBIs, giving him 10 RBI through 6 Major League games. Since 1920, only four players have amassed more in that span. Dale Alexander, 13 in 1929; Trevor Story, 12 in 2016; Nico Hoerner, 11 in 2019; Mandy Brooks, 11 in 1925.
Jonathan has average range and plus arm strength at third base, and he has the hands and glove necessary for the position long-term.
India’s athleticism, polish and well-rounded game give him a chance to grow into a solid everyday player. A shortstop in college, India has the tools to move to second base if needed.
He flashes above-average arm strength, but at times his throws lack zip and are inaccurate, leading many to surmise his best long-term position will be second base.
India played third base almost exclusively his first two years as a pro, where his arm, footwork and range allow him to be an above-average defensive presence at the hot corner. He has seen some time at second, including in the AFL, and he's athletic enough to play there if needed. India loves to play and gets high marks for his hard-nosed attitude, one that made him want to play through injury in 2019. A healthy India could keep moving quickly and put up the numbers expected of a top five pick. (Spring 2020)
India has athletic defensive actions. He also has a real feel for the game and is heavy on defensive aptitude. His footwork and average arm are stretched at shortstop, where he played some in his pro debut, but he can be an above-average defender at second or third. (Spring, 2019)
India has fast feet. He can be a bit frenetic at times, but he has good balance, circles the ball well and can make strong throws on the run. He is an impressive defender at third base.
Jonathan's actions are more athletic than smooth, but he makes all the plays at any infield position. He's played multiple positions, showing off his soft hands and accurate arm from third base, shortstop and second base.
India can be a valuable utilityman. But his best defensive position is the hot corner, where his tools all combine for a 55 or even a 60 grade defender.
India doesn't take his defense lightly. He works very hard at it.
India may get the chance to prove he is still a shortstop in pro ball. Coming out of high school, he faced questions about his range at the position.
The Reds believe that India is versatile enough to potentially play second base, shortstop, left field or right field.
August 2020: India, who has primarily been a third baseman since being drafted, has seen time at both third and second base this summer and taken advantage of the opportunity.
“Jonathan has been one of the real bright spots in our camp," Reds senior director of player development Eric Lee said. "He’s making incredible strides defensively, particularly at second base and mostly as a result of the fact that Jonathan continues to be a tireless worker.
“He and Jose Garcia are early-work constants, and it is fun to watch them compete with and against each other under coach Luis Bolivar’s direction.”
- In 2021 for the Reds, India played second base exclusively.
- 2022 Season: The Cincinnati Reds worst defender, according to a number of different metrics was actually the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year Jonathan India. Let's dive a little deeper, shall we?
Fielding Bible is always a good resource. According to the outlet, India was worth -14 defensive runs saved. What that essentially means is that India cost the Reds 14 runs relative to what an average player would have. To put it in perspective, only Jose Altuve (-15 DRS) of the Houston Astros had a worse rating among second basemen.
Let's take it a step further and look at outs above average. Baseball Savant provides this nifty statistic that measures how many outs a player has saved. India was tied for last on the team in 2022 with -9 OAA. Again, only one second baseman had a worse defensive rating in this category and that was St. Louis Cardinals' rookie Nolan Gorman (-12 OAA).
Maybe you're a traditionalist and like the age-old stat of fielding percentage. Jonathan India committed 10 errors in 291 chances last season which equates to a .966 fielding percentage. That's a 10 point drop from India's .976 fielding percentage from 2021; a season in which he committed 15 errors in 620 chances.
India's 10 miscues were the third-most among second basemen in the league last season. Only Kolten Wong (17) of the Milwaukee Brewers and Rougned Odor (16) of the Baltimore Orioles committed more errors. Among players with a least 80 games played in the field, only Wong (.963) had a worse fielding percentage than India.
Jonathan India's horrific defense in 2022 will surely raise questions about his future at second base, esspecially with the impending elimination of the defensive shift in 2023. India will need to improve drastically on the defensive side of the ball heading into next season or he may well be moved to a different position. (Drew Koch - Nov. 8, 2022)
Jonathan is an average runner, though not a burner, but he covers ground as an infielder. He was clocked at 6.81 in the 60-yard dash.
- India displays impressive instincts on the base. He's a really good baserunner. (May 2018)
August-end of 2019 season: India saw his regular season come to a premature end after he was hit in the helmet by a pitch.
Oct 2019: After heading out to play in the Arizona Fall League, Jonathan had that season also come to an abrupt end when a wrist injury shut him down.
April 30-May 2, 2021: India was on the IL.
April 16-26, 2022: India was on the IL
April 30-June 13, 2022: India was on the IL with recurrence of right hamstring tightness. After being activated on April 26, he hasn't been moving around too well, per Manager David Bell.
“He hasn’t been able to kind of break through being able to go full speed,” Bell said.
Aug 11, 2022: India was hit on his lower left leg with a pitch from Cubs left-hander Drew Smyly in the first inning of the Field of Dreams Game and spent the night in an Iowa City hospital as a precaution. Doctors feared that a flight to Cincinnati might affect the swelling in India's leg, so the Reds planned to get him home by car with a trainer. India, who is day to day and will be at Great American Ball Park, initially tried to play through the injury until giving way to Matt Reynolds for the top of the fourth.
"He's going to be day to day," manager David Bell said of India after the Reds' 4-2 loss in Dyersville, Iowa. "It's not fractured. It just got him in a bad spot that as the game went on, it got more swollen and he lost all flexibility and had a hard time moving."
- Sept 4, 2022: India departed Game 2 of the doubleheader against the Rockies as a precautionary measure after fouling a ball off his left shin.
Despite the infielder’s wishes to remain in the game, manager David Bell said it wasn't worth the risk given his history. India was airlifted out of Dyersville, Iowa, following the Field of Dreams game on Aug. 12 after his shin began to swell to “the size of a baseball.”
“Those foul balls can hurt pretty bad and then go away pretty fast,” Bell said. “But just given his history and what's happened with his shin and everything, it just was not worth it at all.”