The Cincinnati Reds have searched high and low over the last several seasons, and have failed to find a leadoff hitter. Jonathan India has changed that. The rookie second baseman has been David Bell’s table setter for the last several games, and the Reds have seen marked success with India hitting atop the Cincinnati batting order.
Cincinnati tried hitting Billy Hamilton atop the batting order, and it never worked out the way the Reds had hoped. Of late, it looked like Shogo Akiyama or Nick Senzel might be Cincinnati’s leadoff hitter. But Shogo, while productive, has been outplayed by others on the roster and Senzel can’t stay on the field.
Jonathan India has solved the Reds issues atop the batting order.
When you have two studs like Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos in your lineup, you want to try your best to get runners on base ahead of them. Winker and Castellanos seem to hit everything that’s thrown their way, oftentimes for extra bases.
Finding a player who can reliably reach base ahead of the two slugging outfielders is paramount if the Cincinnati Reds wish to compete in the National League Central Division. Jonathan India, over the last nine games, has been that and more for the Reds.
Since taking over as Cincinnati’s leadoff hitter, India is slashing .294/.415/.471 with three doubles, six walks, and a home run. India adds speed ahead of Winker and Castellanos as well. The 25-year-old has an average sprint speed of 28.6 feet per second, which is among the Top 10% in Major League Baseball according to Baseball Savant.
Jonathan India has a strong case for NL Rookie of the Year.
Only teammate Tyler Stephenson has a higher on-base percentage than Jonathan India among rookies with at least 100 at-bats this season. Jazz Chisholm Jr.’s .826 OPS is marginally better than both Stephenson (.801) and India (.782). India is also tied with Dylan Carlson for most RBIs among NL rookies with 27. Carlson, however, has appeared in 10 more games than India in 2021.
The young core of the Cincinnati Reds has been shining brightly this season. Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, and now pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez have shown that they belong in the big leagues. In India, however, David Bell has that invaluable player who he place at the top of his lineup card and watch him go to work.
Over the next weeks, expect Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos to see their numbers soar. With India setting the table, and now Mike Moustakas on his way back, the Reds’ dynamic duo will now have protection in front of and behind them.