The Reds drafted Florida shortstop Jonathan India the fifth overall pick in the Major League Baseball Draft.
From the Reds:
CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Reds Vice President of Amateur Scouting Chris Buckley tonight announced the selection of INF Jonathan India (6’1″, 200), a junior from the University of Florida, with the team’s first pick (5th overall) of the 2018 first-year player draft.
Later tonight, the Reds will select their second and third players with overall picks 47 (2nd round) and 72 (competitive balance lottery round B).
“We think Jonathan is an extremely exciting athlete who can impact the game in many ways,” said Dick Williams, President of Baseball Operations. “He played very good defense at third base and has the athleticism to play elsewhere. As an accomplished and advanced college hitter, he should move quickly through the minor leagues. We are thrilled to add him to our organization.”
India, 21, was named 2018 SEC Player of the Year after batting .365 with 16 HR, 40 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 54 regular season games during his junior year at Florida. The Coral Springs (FL) native led the conference with a .506 on-base percentage and a .730 slugging percentage. He was selected as a semi-finalist for the prestigious Golden Spikes Award and entered the draft rated the fifth-best prospect by Baseball America.
This year for the Gators, India played primarily third base but also made several appearances at shortstop. He became just the 12th player in school history to amass in his career 20 or more home runs, 100 or more RBI and 30 or more stolen bases.
David Adler of MLB.com says India was a ‘solid, albeit unspectacular, prospect’ coming out of high school. Adler notes that India had a breakout season with the Gators.
“India has been perhaps the best all-around college hitter this spring, showing the ability to impact the game in a number of ways,” Adler says. “He has an advanced approach on offense, showing excellent plate discipline and the ability to hit for average that should translate. His pitch selection has improved tremendously, which, in turn, has given him better pitches to drive, something he’s doing more consistently this year. Some evaluators see at least average power from India in the future. He’s a solid runner with excellent instincts and can steal a base. India has played a lot of third, but his athleticism and instincts — not to mention his strong arm — could allow him to play any of a number of infield positions at the next level.
Prolific college hitters are always hard to find, and those who perform in their Draft year tend to shoot to the top of boards. That’s exactly what’s happening with India, whose performance in the top-notch South Eastern Conference is putting him into many first-round conversations.
MLB comp: Kevin Seitzer
Some fans may wonder why the Reds drafted another infielder, but the baseball draft isn’t about drafting for need. It’s about getting the best prospect available. Unfortunately, it’ll probably be three or four years before we have an idea of what kind of player India will be. Watch some of his highlights below:
— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) June 5, 2018
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 4, 2018
As the clock hit 6:30 pm, last Saturday, I was ready to go to Great American Ballpark. That’s when my wife reminded me that it was December. Every year the Cincinnati Reds put on a first class party for their fans called Redsfest and they’re pretty good at what they do.
I got to meet Michael Lorenzen, Tyler Mahle, Ibandel Isabel, and Jimmy Herget. I got my copy of “The Big 50” signed by Chad Dotson and Chris Garber, made a video with Mo Egger, and talked shop with Doug Gray. Okay, I get it, enough with the name dropping. Basically, it was fun.
I made it a point to ask some light-hearted questions (or in Lorenzen’s case, make a light-hearted, but factual, statement) to see what their reactions would be.
I first met Lorenzen. I told him that he was the real silver slugger and I am attempting to get that other guy to mail him the trophy he deserves. Lorenzen responded with, “Well, that just gives me motivation to hit twice as many homers next year.” Might have to get me a Lorenzen jersey…
I then got Mahle’s John Hancock (or is it Herbie Hancock?) on a baseball and I asked him if we can expec upwards of three, or more, 20-strikeout games this year. He replied “Let’s hope so. I’ll see what I can do.” Hope you folks in the bleachers with K’s are ready to work, this season.
I then got autographs from Isabel and Herget. Isabel just gave me an awkward smile and a chuckle when I asked if he will focus on inside-the-parkers this year instead of traditional homers, since he’s already hit a lot of those. Herget gave me a classic answer to my simple question of what his favorite pitch was when he said, “A strike.” Well played Jimmy.
The main stage offerings were also enjoyable. The best was at the kids-only press conference. Joey Votto, Amir Garrett, and Eugenio Suarez were on stage for the show, and when asked what their favorite memory of 2018 will be, Joey decided it was “When Amir tried to fight the Cubs.” Suarez bumped in, “Yeah, when he struck out Baez and stared him down. That was awesome, man!” As much as we fans may have liked that moment, it seems to have been even cooler to the team.
Memorabilia-wise, there was a ton of stuff to get. I didn’t go too crazy, this year, but I did end up with a new hat that has a Jackie Robinson 42 patch on it. Definitely my favorite hat, now. All in all, a good weekend.
If you went, let me know how your experience went!
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Live (Sorta) from Redsfest with Mo Egger
Follow @jefffcarr and @lockedonReds on Twitter
Instant Reaction: Bye, Bye Billy
Wow! It’s the first hour of Redsfest and there are fireworks, already! The world’s fastest man (probably), Billy Hamilton, was non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds making him a free agent. I have a few instant thoughts on this.
Firstly, I am bummed. I watched his career develop in the minors all the way up til he got the call to the Bigs. He looked like a star in the making in Pensacola, but what we now know is that he was defensively gifted and offensively challenged. He will go down, in my book, as the foremost example of “You can’t steal first.” I hope that his next step (if he doesn’t return, that is, but more on that in a second) he finds that missing piece and becomes a star.
Nextly, where do the Reds go from here? The encouragement is that we know Bob Castellini loved Billy and wanted him to be here forever and ever. That means the front office has definitely, officially been handed the reigns. If that’s the case, maybe we see Nick Senzel brought up and given the CF job, or Jose Peraza move to CF (he has a few minutes of experience there) and Senzel put in at shortstop. Those possibilities excite me. Whatever gets Senzel in the lineup is the right course of action, to me.
Lastly, maybe this is a little Michael Johnson maneuvering? For those who don’t follow the other professional franchise in Cincinnati, the Bengals made a move, right before the season, where they cut one of their longtime veterans only to resign him a few days later. They made the move to get some young guys onto the practice squad, but I digress. What if the Reds and Billy have a little head nod and handshake agreement that they will sign him for a year or two at his current rate, avoiding the arbitration-hike in salary he was about to get? This is purely a hypothetical notion by me, by the way, and I don’t know if they can do that, or if Billy would want it that way. Just a thought from a fan who can never truly be unbiased when it comes to Cool Papa Bill.
Anyway, I am sure there will be more to come from Redsfest!
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