Jonathan India's defense is being tested early

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India.
Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

One of the biggest questions coming into the 2023 season was how well Jonathan India would handle defensive duties at second base.

It was a fair question after last season saw the Cincinnati Reds infielder post -14 defensive runs saved according to FanGraphs and -9 outs above average per Baseball Savant. Those numbers, combined with elimination of the defensive shift, certainly raised questions about whether or not India could handle the keystone in 2023.

While we're just three games into the regular season, India has been tested early and often. India came into spring camp lighter and quicker, and it's showing up on the field.

Reds 2B Jonathan India's defense is being tested early.

Jonathan India has become the unquestioned leader of this year's Cincinnati Reds team. The 26-year-old has consistently been atop the dugout steps cheering on his teammates in almost every at-bat. But more than that, India has brought that level of intensity to the field.

India's carrying tool is, of course, his bat. The 2021 National League Rookie of the Year hit .269/.376/.459 in his first major league season, and were it not for lingering injuries last year, it's quite possible that India could have duplicated his success at the dish.

But after posting a combined fielding percentage of .973 and recording 25 errors during his first two seasons manning second base, questions surfaced throughout the offseason about whether or not it may become necessary for India to switch positions.

To date, India has answered the bell. Not only has India been flawless at the keystone in the first three games of the season, but he's been tested on a few occasions. You expect nearly every player, even at the minor league level, to make the routine plays. But India even stuck his neck out a couple time during the series with the Pittsburgh Pirates and made the highlight reel play.

While I don't think we're going to see Brandon Phillips-level defense from Jonathan India, if the University of Florida product can just handle his business at second base, there'll be no need to have further discussions about a position change in the near future.

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