Jonathan India's numbers don't tell the entire story from his 2023 season. But how do you grade a player based on his intangibles?
Because that's really what it comes down with India, right?. Yes, India is a good player (we'll get to his defense later), but his greatest asset to this year's Cincinnati Reds team comes in the form of things that cannot be measured.
According to Baseball Reference, India ranked 12th on the team in WAR. But even the most casual observer recognizes that India's performance goes well beyond the box score. Let's see if we can put a fair and objective report card together for India's 2023 season.
Reds report card: Grading Jonathan India's turbulent 2023 season
Jonathan India emerged as the heart and soul of the Cincinnati Reds in 2023. With Joey Votto on the IL to begin the season, someone within the walls of the Reds clubhouse needed to take up the mantle and help lead the charge. That player was India.
India, who suffered through countless bumps and bruises in 2022, came into spring training healthy. Resuming his role as the Reds leadoff hitter, India was hitting .287/.380/.420 with a wRC+ 118 through May 22nd. And then everything changed.
India was inexcusably moved out of the leadoff spot and bumped back in the lineup. To be quite honest, that may have been David Bell's most egregious mistake during the 2023 season. From that moment one, India hit just .218/.312/.400 with a wRC+ of 89 according to FanGraphs.
During the second-half of the season, India suffered through a bout of plantar fasciitis that saw the second baseman land on the IL. However, India played through the pain and returned to the team in mid-September. But the 26-year-old wasn't the same player and struggled down the stretch.
Now, let's get to the ugly part, shall we? Jonathan India, while a solid player, is a below-average defender at second base. India rated as one of the worst second basemen in baseball with -8 defensive runs saved and -6 outs above average. India committed nine errors at the keystone in 2023.
With all those numbers out of the way, let's get back to the bigger picture. Jonathan India is a tough, gritty, ballplayer who was the unquestioned leader of the Cincinnati Reds last season. Even though the numbers don't bear it out, that's counts for something.
India's future is somewhat up in the air, as the Reds have an abundance of young and talented infielders on the 40-man roster and coming up through the minor leagues. When it comes to India's future in Cincinnati, the Reds have some decisions to make this offseason.