Jonathan India should replace Elly De La Cruz as the Reds leadoff hitter

Jonathan India is on track to return from the IL this week.

Cincinnati Reds infielders Elly De La Cruz and Jonathan India
Cincinnati Reds infielders Elly De La Cruz and Jonathan India / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

The move appeared to make sense at the time, right? Rookie sensation Elly De La Cruz was enjoying his newfound fame and his blazing speed on the base paths seemed to scream leadoff hitter.

Shortly after the All-Star break, De La Cruz went from being the Cincinnati Reds cleanup hitter to the team's leadoff man. The results have been rather disastrous.

Thankfully, Jonathan India, who seemed to thrive as the Reds leadoff hitters, is slated to return from the injured list later this week. Will Reds manager David Bell, who definitely needs to add a spark his lineup, reinstall India atop Cincinnati's lineup?

Jonathan India should replace Elly De La Cruz atop the Reds lineup.

Three things have coincided with the Cincinnati Reds tumble down the standings. First, they've played two very hot teams. In addition, Jonathan India's name emerged in trade speculation just before the August 1st deadline. Finally, India, who's their team leader, landed on the IL.

But it appears that India is scheduled to return to the Cincinnati lineup as early as Tuesday. If that's the case, David Bell should put India's name at the very top of his lineup card.

Elly De La Cruz took over as the Cincinnati Reds leadoff hitter on July 17th. Since that time, De La Cruz is hitting .213/.289/.453 with a 41-percent strikeout-rate. That's horrific, and Bell needs to account for that by reinstalling India as the Reds leadoff hitter.

According to FanGraphs, India is hitting .283/.376/.418 when hitting atop the Reds lineup. He was drawing walks nearly 12-percent, had a strikeout-rate of just 17.9-percent, and wRC+ of 111. India is a table-setter, not a power-hitter. Once healthy, India should be leading off every game for the remainder of the 2023 season.

While there are some Reds fans who advocated for Jonathan India to be traded, either before the deadline or during the offseason, perhaps they'd like to rethink their position based on the results from the past several days. This team is missing India's leadership and his presence atop the batting order.

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