Reds: Jonathan India should be leading the Rookie of the Year conversation

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 30: Jonathan India #6 of the Cincinnati Reds watches the flight of his first inning home run. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 30: Jonathan India #6 of the Cincinnati Reds watches the flight of his first inning home run. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

I’ve seen names Dylan Carlson, Jazz Chisholm Jr., Ke’Bryan Hayes, Ian Anderson, and Trevor Rogers. But rarely have I seen Jonathan India‘s name mentioned among the best rookies in the National League. It’s high-time the Cincinnati Reds second baseman got some respect.

The vote for Rookie of the Year is always subjective. Last year’s National League winner was Devin Williams of the Milwaukee Brewers. Before that was the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso, Atlanta Braves’ outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., and Los Angeles Dodgers’ star Cody Bellinger.

The award has been a runaway for the winner the last several years. In fact, the closest the vote has been in sometime was back in 2012 when current Reds’ pitcher Wade Miley fell short of then-Washington Nationals’ star Bryce Harper.

This year, Miami Marlins’ pitcher Trevor Rogers appears to have the lead. While it may be hard to pry the award from the 23-year-old’s hands, a recent trip to the injured list with back spasms may give an opening to the other first-year players. Jonathan India’s dominance of late cannot be ignored.

Reds’ second baseman Jonathan India should be leading the race for NL ROY.

Let’s make one thing painfully obvious to everyone; Jonathan India did not play organized baseball in 2020. India spent all of last season at the Reds’ alternate site. Taylor Rogers, Dylan Carlson, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Jazz Chisholm Jr., Ian Anderson, and even India’s teammate Tyler Stephenson were all part of the big leagues in 2020. India is a rookie in the truest sense the word.

In fact, India wasn’t even expected to be on Cincinnati’s Opening Day roster. The fact is, the University of Florida alum was so impressive that David Bell abandoned the idea of playing Kyle Farmer at shortstop, shifted Mike Moustakas back to the hot corner, and move Eugenio Suarez from third base to shortstop just to get India’s bat into the lineup.

But enough about how India got to the majors. Let’s look at what the rookie has done since he’s been in the big leagues. Among rookies with 70 or more games under their belt, no one is outpacing India in OPS (.841). He outpaces all rookies in walks (50), and among qualified rookies, no one is within shooting distance of India’s .403 on-base percentage.

India is also hitting leadoff for a contending Cincinnati Reds team, and is doing a darn good job. Earlier this season, India typically occupied the No. 7 or No. 8 hole in the Reds’ lineup. However, since June 5th, when India took over as the team’s leadoff hitter, he’s slashing .302/.432/.469 with six home runs, 41 runs scored, 19 RBIs, four stolen bases, and a walk-rate of 14.9%.

Only Carlson has more RBIs than India, but it should be noted that he’s done that in 63 more at-bats. Patrick Wisdom of the Chicago Cubs has been impressive in the power department, but his .600 slugging percentage has come in nearly half the ABs of India.

Next. Votto is making late-season push for NL MVP

The national pundits routinely seem to gloss over the accomplishments of those players in the Queen City, but Joey Votto’s recent outburst of power has the spotlight squarely on the Cincinnati Reds. Perhaps some of that attention directed at Votto will rub off on Jonathan India and put the Reds’ second baseman into the NL Rookie of the Year conversation.