Reds: Jonathan India looking to be first since Pete Rose to do this

Mar 21, 2021; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Reds infielder Jonathan India. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2021; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Reds infielder Jonathan India. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Yesterday, it was announced that top infield prospect Jonathan India had made the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster. If India is inserted into the starting lineup, according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, he’ll be the first Reds rookie to make his major league debut on Opening Day at second base since Pete Rose did so in 1963.

India worked hard to get to this point, and appears to be on the precipice of making his first big league start on the grandest stage of them all. The former Florida Gator was taken with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, and his work at the alternate site in 2020 and in Goodyear this spring have propelled India into the spotlight.

Jonathan India looks to make his Reds debut.

This winter, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Cincinnati Reds were going to sign one of the top free agent shortstops. Cincinnati’s General Manager Nick Krall basically said as much. But as the offseason drug along, it became apparent that the front office was more interested in saving money than spending it.

We saw Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, and former farmhand Didi Gregorius plucked off the free agent market, leaving Cincinnati to decide between Dee Strange-Gordon and Jonathan Villar. The Reds chose the former, and Strange-Gordon is now looking for a new home after being released a few days ago.

Eventually, the Cincinnati coaching staff and front office came to their senses, and moved Eugenio Suarez to shortstop, Mike Moustakas supplanted Geno at third base, the keystone looks to be waiting for Jonathan India to make his big league debut.

Will Jonathan India be in the starting lineup for the Reds on Opening Day?

David Bell has always been one to play the percentages. We’ve seen Bell go to his bench early and often through his first couple years on the Reds’ bench, preferring to play a left-handed heavy lineup versus a right-handed pitcher. With Cardinals’ righty Jack Flaherty on the mound, will Bell go with India at second base?

I think the answer is yes, but we’ll have to wait and see. The only other option Bell may have is to turn to the left-handed hitting Max Schrock, but that seems unlikely. Look for India to find a home in the latter half of the Cincinnati batting order, and if all goes well, perhaps the former first-rounder will get an at-bat in the bottom of the first inning.

Next. Reds vs. Cardinals series preview

Jonathan India, unlike Nick Senzel two years ago, was placed on the active roster despite the advantage Cincinnati could have gained by keeping him in the minors through the first month or so of the season. The shuffling of the infield and promoting India is a signal that the Reds are tired of losing and looking to compete in 2021.