Who is Jonathan India?
Before the season, India (six-foot-one, 185 pounds) was projected to be a fifth round pick. However, India has exceeded expectations by slashing .368/.506/.725 during 182 at-bats this year. He has walked 45 times while striking out the same amount, and has been successful in 11 of 13 steal attempts. Thirty of his 67 hits have gone for extra bases, with 16 of them homers. India’s fielding percentage is .947, which is far better than his fellow first round peer, Alec Bohm (.899). India’s athleticism should allow him to play all infield positions, but third base seems to be the best fit for now. The big worry for India is this: Is he a one-year wonder, or is he capable of future results paralleling 2018? In his previous two years in Florida, he slashed just .289/.361/.435 with 45 walks and 85 strikeouts combined. Even if India slumps, however, he should be a key contributor in all other facets of the game.
How does India rank?
Jonathan Mayo Mock: 14th to the Mariners
Jim Callis Mock: Sixth to the Mets
Fan Graphs Mock: 11th to the Orioles
2080 Baseball Mock: 11th to the Orioles
Sporting News: Sixth to the Mets
Perfect Game: Sixth to the Mets
What is India’s game?
According to MLB Pipeline,
[India] has shown the ability to impact the game in a number of ways. He has an advanced approach at the plate, 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 done more consistently this year, with some evaluators seeing at least average power from him 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.
Baseball America has stated that India is as much of a college performer as any player in the draft class and has faced better pitching than any other bat. His field, run, hit and arm tools all rank 55 according to MLB Pipeline, while his power is graded at 50. With a solid first year in the minors, it’s possible that India’s power could easily be upgraded to 55 as well.
What does India look like?
Here, India hits a home run off projected No. 1 pick Casey Mize:
Why should the White Sox draft him?
If the Sox are solely looking for the best available college bat in the draft, and if 2B Nick Madrigal and C Joey Bart are already selected, India would have more upside than South Alabama OF Travis Swaggerty and far better speed, defensive versatility and defensive ability than Wichita State 3B Alec Bohm (without sacrificing much of the power & discipline that Bohm possesses). The White Sox don’t currently have many third baseman in their system who are likely to stick at that position — the top ones like Jake Burger, Justin Yurchak and Anthony Villa all appear destined for 1B or DH. Also, because of India’s limited track record of mega-success, perhaps India could be a below-slot selection, which would allow the Sox to draft an above-slot prep pick in the second round.
Why wouldn’t the White Sox draft him?
If either Madrigal or Bart drop to No. 4, the White Sox will pounce on either of them first. If the Sox are willing to consider pitching options if Madrigal and Bart are selected prior to #4, the White Sox would have the option of choosing a pitcher like Auburn RHP Casey Mize or Florida RHP Brady Singer; this may be too much for them to pass up. India would be a risk, since he’s only had one successful collegiate season. Finally, the White Sox are notorious for selecting corner infielders with good plate discipline but little-to-no defensive range —Bohm seems to fit that bill perfectly.