Jonathan India, not Joey Votto, is the Reds player needing to bounce back in 2023
By Drew Koch
Will Leitch of MLB.com put together a list of 30 players, one from each team, in need of bounce-back year in 2023. Leitch totally missed the mark by naming Joey Votto the player on the Cincinnati Reds roster who'll be looking to rebound in 2023. The player who is most in need of better performance next season is Jonathan India.
According to Leitch, "Just when Votto was about to get going, he had to undergo surgery and missed the rest of the season. He’ll be back in full form next season, and, we presume, back to being Votto again."
That's something that an overwhelming majority of Reds Country would love to debate, and while it would be great to see Votto return to form for what will likely be his final season in a Cincinnati uniform, India's sophomore slump is much more concerning.
Jonathan India, not Joey Votto, is the Reds player needing to bounce back in 2023.
Injuries are part of the game, and there's no denying that both Joey Votto and Jonathan India were affected by their stints on the IL this season. India missed several weeks due to a lingering hamstring injury and Votto has been out action since mid-August after having shoulder surgery.
Votto hit .205/.319/.370 with 11 home runs and 41 RBIs in 322 at-bats for the Reds this season. India is hitting .249/.323/.381 with 10 round trippers and 39 runs batted in. Neither is overly impressive and both have a bWAR below 0.0 for the season.
More troubling for India, however, might be what we've seen from the Reds second baseman defensively. According to Fielding Bible, India's responsible for -13 defensive runs saved which is the worst on the team.
Votto had -2 DRS this season, and with the rules changes going into affect next season that limit the defensive shift, there's going to be a much bigger emphasis on a player's range and defensive ability.
India has also seen a tremendous drop in his walk-rate. Last season, according to FanGraphs, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year posted a walk-rate of 11.3%. Throughout India's minor league career is walk always higher than 10.0%. This season, however, India has maintained a walk-rate of just 7.2%. That's a big reason why fans have seen David Bell move India out of the leadoff spot.
Joey Votto is in the twilight of his career. While it would be great to see another MVP-type season from the six-time All-Star, it's much more important for the Cincinnati Reds to see Jonathan India return to form in 2023.