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Monday, May 29, 2023

Elly De La Cruz is coming soon — and that may leave Jonathan India without a spot

The Reds have a problem with Jonathan India. It’s a good problem, but a problem nonetheless.

The Reds soon may boast too many good infielders, most notably the game’s top prospect, Elly De La Cruz, who is closing in on his major-league debut.

India, 26, was the 2021 National League Rookie of the Year. He’s currently the team’s three-hole hitter, putting together a season much more like his award-winning first year than his injury-riddled sophomore campaign. Beyond that, Reds players and officials consider him the heart and soul of the team.
But in a stunning turn that reflects the acceleration of the Reds’ rebuild and a shift toward perhaps their youngest and most athletic roster ever, India also is in danger of being displaced at second base.

“It’s part of the game. There are always guys behind you, always,” India said Saturday. “If I just play well, it won’t matter. That’s all I can do, play my best and make the decision tough for them.”

India is currently part of a double-play combination with promising rookie Matt McLain, who has started at shortstop in 12 of the past 13 games, including all three games of the Reds’ weekend sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

De La Cruz, meanwhile, is pushing for an immediate call-up. Recently named the top prospect in baseball by ESPN and listed in at least the top three everywhere else, De La Cruz is making a joke of the International League. The 6-foot-5 switch-hitter is already inspiring Paul Bunyan-level stories among even the most grizzled veteran players and scouts. Some Reds people who have seen him play call him a “switch-hitting (Fernando) Tatis (Jr.) with upside,” an intriguing notion, to say the least.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 29, 2023 at 09:25 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jonathan india, reds

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   1. DCA Posted: May 29, 2023 at 10:32 AM (#6130546)
The obvious solution is De La Cruz at 3B and Senzel returned to a utility role.
   2. Dolf Lucky Posted: May 29, 2023 at 11:03 AM (#6130550)
India rates as a negative fielder over the last year and two months. I don’t know that he has the bat to play a corner outfield spot, although his bat is definitely better than the Reds’ incumbents at LF/RF.

Also, from nothing more than the eye test, Senzel looks good at 3B and McLain looks like he has the range for SS but his arm may be a bit lacking.

Last note: I’m about 85% confident that McLain is already the Reds’ best player. 99% confident he’s their best position player. It’s nice to have a reason to watch again.
   3. JJ1986 Posted: May 29, 2023 at 11:45 AM (#6130556)
Tyler Stephenson (79 OPS+) is the Reds most common DH this season. When he DHs, Curt Casali (14 OPS+) catches. This is not a problem yet.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: May 29, 2023 at 04:24 PM (#6130600)
Have to agree with #1 although you could potentially teach India 3B if de la Cruz is a better fit at 2B. (At 6-5, I'd think 3B is his spot.) Senzel's move to 3B is all of a month old although it was his main position in the minors. As a CF he should easily be able to handle a corner OF and they've already given him a few starts at 2B. With DH also available, there's plenty of playing time.

And let's not forget that Senzel is below-replacement for his career although having a solid season this year. Hes already 28. If there's somebody in this foursome who loses playing time, it's Senzel and it's not a tough decision. Now longer term, India might want to work on his 3B, 1B and corner OF defense but that can probably wait until the offseason.

In a possibly related news update, Cronenworth is at a 106 OPS+, 0.8 WAR, 0.1 WAA and average defense at 1B. He's still gotten 11 starts at 2B too.
   5. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: May 30, 2023 at 08:38 AM (#6130718)
Yes, Senzel should not be a consideration at all. He gets hurt all the time and is not much of a hitter at all. At this point I would gladly accept him turning into a decent utility player.

Last note: I’m about 85% confident that McLain is already the Reds’ best player. 99% confident he’s their best position player. It’s nice to have a reason to watch again.

Absolutely agree.
   6. Tom and Shivs couples counselor Posted: May 30, 2023 at 06:54 PM (#6130825)
McClain 15-31 and nine runs scored got him named NL player of the week

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