The Reds chose University of Florida infielder Jonathan India with their first round selection, fifth overall in the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft. India sounds a lot like Nick Senzel. He also famously hit a home run in April against Auburn pitcher Casey Mize, who was tonight’s #1 pick overall. India and his Gator teammates are playing Florida Atlantic in an NCAA Regional in Gainesville tonight.

The Reds have two more picks tonight, their 2nd round pick, #47 overall and a Competitive Balance, Round B pick, #72 overall.

More analysis on the pick later, but here are a few online resources:

Press release from the Reds:

From Kiley McDaniel at FanGraphs:

“This spring, India has cleaned up his body, is a little more athletic, and now has 55 raw power to profile at third base, where he fits best long-term despite some time at shortstop this spring.

This improvement in body and strength has translated to his numbers, as India is raking this year to the tune of .433/.542/.911, with 20 walks, 19 strikeouts, and 11 homers. If he continues hitting at this rate deep into SEC play, he may force his way into the late first round, but he’s currently a sandwich pick for me right now. A college bat with 50 hit and power tools, gaudy numbers, and some defensive value isn’t easy to find. Such players tend to climb come draft day, so India is in good position.”

Video of India batting:

Chad’s summary of Dick Williams’ description of Reds draft strategy as expressed on Radio tonight:

[Photo: Steven Branscombe/USA Today]

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 24 Comments

  1. Yes. Glad the Reds took a position player that is a great hitter. Should be able to contribute fairly quickly to the Reds. He has played SS for Florida this season, so, he has ability.

    These type of players an always move to a corner OF spot, which the Reds clearly need.

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    • SS is not out of the question. He reminds me, body wise, of the Braves current SS Swanson. You don’t have to be elite level agile or quick to be a good SS, just decently agile and not slow. He seems to have enough agility and athleticism to play pretty much ANYWHERE and he has played SS in college and high school

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    • As a Gator grad (I stayed up until 2am to watch the Gators make it to the super regional last night) I was extremely excited to see them take India (would have been happy with Singer as well and glad they stayed away from high school players with their first pick this year). Think Senzel and India can both play at multiple spots and hit, will be nice flexibility to have in a few years once both are in the majors.

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  2. I am very fine with this pick. I was looking forward to Singer, P, and surprised at how far he fell. I was also fine if they drafted Carter Stewart even if he is a HS P four or so years away as his curve and fastball are easily ace-level-projectable. India was a complete, all-around stud that managed a very modest K rate (more BB than Ks by 1) in the top conference in college baseball (basically AA or high A+ level).

    That said, it is nice seeing them lean college hitter and also notice how often P’s get injured in the long route to the majors. Also the Reds can’t seem to develop pitchers, and maybe they realize this.

    Does this mean the Reds forsee going FA or trade route for an already proven SP or a young stud SP prospect that is ready to be ROY material? Hope so.

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    • I don’t think this draft has anything to do with the pitching staff for next year. Outside of Leake how many pitchers have went straight to the majors? The only way the Reds have a chance of a winning record is to sign a free agent pitcher

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    • I like how the Cubs built their team, lots of position players and get Starting Pitching from outside the organization. Maybe the Reds will utilize some of the younger prospects in the system to get a higher level Starting Pitcher.

      Stewart would have an interesting pick as well. Does appear that his 2 pitches are dominate and projectable.

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    • The SEC is an amazing league but we shouldn’t compare it to High A or AA.

      Reply
  3. Potential at Short stop.

    Interesting. Could give the Reds a look like Alex Rodriguez early in his career at Seattle.

    Where does he start out (Billings)? And how fast does he move up?

    It will be interesting if he plays SS at Billings. If they sign him.

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  4. If he has the ability to play SS then finding a place for him to play should be easy if he hits. I always like getting SS or CF that can hit in the draft because moving to another position isn’t a problem.

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  5. Sign him immediately and send him to Arizona for 1 month of shortstop training and then to Dayton in late July . Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. He is already a far superior hitter than anyone in Dayton.

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  6. I don’t scout college players, but this strikes me as a good pick from a strategy standpoint. Pick the guy who (a) is an excellent hitter, both contact and power, (b) has enough athleticism to play several positions, and (c) is also a strong defender.

    Reply
  7. Looking at him on tape….think he might need to cut down that leg kick a little bit? Took Casey Mize deep though and looked pretty good! Justin Turner and Josh Donaldson have big leg kicks and time pitchers up pretty well so who knows. Its hard not to like those numbers plus he’s pretty good defensively.

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    • Never mind….looking at him again his leg kick isn’t that dramatic. He lays the bat flat across his shoulders like Cozart last year when he was raking. Quick to the ball! I’m excited!

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  8. Just saw India send one into orbit. His demenor on the bench will be a nice fit. I hope the Reds quit slowing the development of certain players if they come from quality programs. 2 years ago this month, I watched Ian Happ at Myrtle Beach, high A the following year he gets the call up to Chicago. I think at that time Mariano Duncan was his manager. Seems like maybe Trammel is another guy they may want to take the training wheels off of as well.

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    • Gary you are comparing a 3 year college guy to a high school pick who concentrated on football. The reds have moved college guys quickly when the player had the skills i.e. Senzel, Cingrani, Leake

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      • I do think it’s fair to point out how the Reds seemingly slow-walk their position player prospects through the organization, Senzel being somewhat the exception that proves the rule.

        Right now, the Reds have Stuart Fairchild (3 year college player, 38th pick in the draft) stuck at A ball despite posting a 148 wRC+ in Dayton. He played 3 years at Wake Forest and is now approaching 500 career plate appearances in Dayton. He is 22.

        Michael Beltre currently has a 142 wRC+ in A ball. He has 657 career plate appearances in Dayton. He will be 23 in less than a month.

        TJ Friedl spent 3 years in college. He is in A+ and has a 156 wRC+. He had 292 plate appearances in Dayton, and currently has 424 in Daytona. He will be 23 in August.

        I will grant you that Trammell is a HS guy, similar to Jeter Downs last year (who is also killing it). He has a 158 wRC+ In A+ right now. He has over 1,000 career minor league at bats. He will be 21 in September.

        With the game trending younger and younger, I am more of a proponent of promoting players quickly, until they give you a reason not to. Maybe I would go too fast, but I think it’s fair to say that the Reds seem to go a little too slow.

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        • Interesting observations, Eric. And we know that there isn’t much depth at the big league or up minors to block some of these prospects.

          I would like to know what someone more knowledgeable about the Reds minor leagues and these prospects would have to say on this topic. Doug Gray?

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          • Per Doug…

            “You are looking at promotions as a reward. And sometimes they are. But sometimes guys aren’t promoted because they are valued more than the guy who was promoted.”

          • If I’m not mistaken, I think that quote from Doug Gray had more to do with guys getting called up to “fill a role” so to speak. Oh, AA needs a back up catcher, we’ll promote someone who may not have earned it so we can give our better prospect more consistent playing time.

            It seems to me what the Reds fail to do, organizationally, is aggressively promote players they expect to be long-term pieces of the big league team. We notice it more at the big league level when Winker sits behind Adam Duvall, but it seems like at all levels of the club, the front office is so risk averse, they feel better pointing to the success a 22 year old is having at A+ instead of taking the chance on promoting him.

        • One huge negative of not promoting when stats/effort/results say you should, you risk destroying confidence or enthusiasm of a good prospect. If I were hitting the ball all over and playing fundamentally solid defense, or pitching with location and showing good mechanics, I would EXPECT a promotion. Not getting one sends me a signal that my effort and good results mean nothing to the organization.

          There can be a downside, but I’d prefer to see our team err on the side of aggressiveness, but the Reds aggressiveness is sparse, one or two surprise promotions every few years, but mostly a “well its about time” feeling. Then again, we haven’t had any franchise types the past 30 years, so maybe we just draft horribly or no prospect ever improves from skinny potential.

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  9. Was hoping for Carter Stewart as a high upside HS pitcher here. Reds are going to have to start playing some of these guys in the outfield in the minors. Crowded at 3B and 2B.

    Their 2nd round picks are both very Redsy picks. Athletic pitchers with limited mileage on the arm that are very raw on the mound. Sounds like Greene, Lorenzen, Travieso, Garrett, etc.

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  10. I am a fan of this pick. Drafting in the top needs to be complete hits, so draft for sure bats. Pick upside pitchers latter, trade for them.

    Need to figure out the log jam of positions. Votto – 1b – Senzel 2nd – India – SS – Suarez at 3rd – then we got Long and possibly Herrara (can’t count on his health, but he can hit).

    Need one to play OF for sure.

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  11. Nice pick. Good bat. Good defense, very strong arm. Could be moved to any OF spot if needed. I saw the HR he hit against Mize on TV. It was a shot opposite field, sort of. Right in between CF and RCF. Cleared the fence by 15 feet or more. I hope somebody could get it and put it on here for everyone to see. It was a thing of beauty, much better than last night’s big HR.
    Now the two second round picks are something different. It looks like the Reds are employing a new strategy. They have jettisoned the idea of turning college relievers into starters, with good reason. A big failure. Now they seem to be going with very inexperienced, but big arm pitchers. Good players taken in both spots. But it is another very risky enterprise. They have to teach these two how to pitch, how to locate pitches, more so than ones who have pitched more. Seems the Reds idea now is less mileage on the arms means less chance of future injury. The Reds have not been very successful developing pitchers on the whole. They have had small individual successes, but as a whole, not very good. That makes the risky strategy even more riskier.
    The Richardson kid in FL was a U. of Florida commit, so there is talent there and he was said to be a late riser in the draft.
    The Gray kid I read is from the same school as Tom Browning. Browning may have tipped the Reds scouts about him. He seemed to dominate his college league in Div. II.
    Good luck to these kids and I hope they get into camp very soon.

    Reply

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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