Sunday, June 3, 2018

2018 Draft: Jonathan India, 3b

Jonathan India, 3b 
Courtesy: Unknown

University of Florida
6-0, 200 lbs
B/T: R/R
Class: Junior

Jonathan India is one of the fastest and highest risers in the 2018 draft class. He certainly had solid freshman and sophomore seasons for the University of Florida, but his explosive junior season has landed him near the top of MLB draft boards. He should certainly be in the mix for the Reds with the 5th overall pick. 

India's sophomore season was actually a bit of a step backwards, as his offensive performance level declined from his freshman year level. A portion of that decline was likely related to an elbow injury that cost him a few weeks of the season. However, he is fully healthy in 2018 and has parlayed his experience into a a stronger mental attitude developed with the help of assistant coach Brad Weitzel.

Here's a look at India's stats for his three collegiate seasons:

2016: .303/.367/.440/.807; 8.3% BB%; 16.3% K%; 16/2/4 in doubles/triples/homers
2017: .274/.354/.429/.783; 9.2% BB%; 16.7% K%; 15/0/6 in doubles/triples/homers
2018: .362/.502/.723/1.225; 18.9% BB%; 18.9% K%; 11/3/17 in doubles/triples/homers

The obvious differences between his junior season and those that came before are his spiking walk rate and power production. He has emerged as an impact hitter. India has managed to more than double his walk rate with a minimal increase in strikeouts. Obviously, he's being more selective at the plate and grinding away at ABs until he gets pitches he likes, which leads to increased power production. 

India has an above average hit tool, controls the strike zone very well, and has a new found power stroke. Here's a look at him in action at the plate, courtesy of 20-80 Baseball on YouTube: 

He loads well into his back hip and really marries the rotation of his upper body to that of his lower half, which generates significant force in the swing. While he does not have Nick Madrigal's contact ability, India has a strong feel for hitting and generates more power than Madrigal. India uses a bat-tip as part of his load, which removes slack from his muscles and increases the amount of force that he generates. Overall, India has a balanced, powerful swing that he pairs with a strong feel to hit. 

In addition to his offensive ability, India is a very strong defensive third baseman. Here's a look at India flashing the leather, courtesy of Florida Gators on YouTube:

There are a lot of impressive aspects of the above play, including the full extension, how quick he is to get to his feet, and the clear arm strength on display. India's defensive tools make him a potentially viable option at either second base or shortstop. In fact, India himself still sees himself as a shortstop, though he has been exclusively playing third base for the Gators. Consequently, there is a real chance that he could be moved up the defensive spectrum to a middle infield position, which would only increase his value. At the very least, it's something that could (and likely will) be tried in the professional ranks. 

India offers a diversified set of value-drivers, including hitting, defense, positional value, arm strength and strong baserunning ability. Not to mention, he has a strong track record, including one season of elite performance, against the highest level of collegiate competition. In light of the foregoing, he should very much be in the mix for the Reds at pick number 5. 

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