Reds: Jonathan India’s MLB debut should come under one condition

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India (71) rounds the bases on a solo home run.
Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India (71) rounds the bases on a solo home run. /

Jonathan India has earned the respect of his manager this spring, but the Cincinnati Reds former first-round pick should only make the roster if he gets regular at-bats. The only way that happens in the early going of the 2021 season is if Joey Votto is still on the injured list.

Votto tested positive for COVID-19 and placed on the IL. It’s not yet known how long the former MVP will be out of the Reds lineup, but the potential exists for Votto to miss Opening Day. If that’s the case, Jonathan India should make Cincinnati’s 26-man roster.

Jonathan India could start Opening Day for the Reds.

If Votto’s time on the injured list extends into the regular season, Mike Moustakas will most likely take over at first base for the six-time All-Star. Moustakas saw time there last season, and Jonathan India could then start at second base.

India has been the talk of camp this spring, and continued to show great presence at the plate in yesterday’s loss to the Mariners. The 24-year-old went 2-for-3 with an RBI double. During Cactus League play this season, India is 6-for-17 with a home run, two RBIs, and a 1.169 OPS.

Jonathan India hasn’t seen much time at shortstop, and we shouldn’t expect to see that change. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith, David Bell said that the plan is to keep India at second and third.

Jonathan India does not need to ride the Reds’ bench.

Under no circumstances should the Cincinnati Reds keep Jonathan India on the 26-man roster just to see the former No. 5 overall pick ride the pine. If India is on the roster, he needs to be in the lineup on a regular basis. The only way that happens is if Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas, or Eugenio Suárez are slated to miss extended time.

Otherwise, India needs to be in the everyday lineup at Triple-A Louisville. The same holds true for another top prospect, José García. García’s glove is major-league ready, but his bat is not, and we’ll likely see the 22-year-old start the season at Triple-A Louisville as well.

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Reds fans wish Joey Votto a speedy recovery, but it’s nice to know that an option exists that won’t be too detrimental to the team’s overall hitting if the face of franchise misses some time early this season. Keep you eye on Jonathan India, as his big league call-up seems inevitable this season. It’s just a matter of when.