A breakout season against top-notch competition in the SEC earned Florida third baseman Jonathan India a top-10 selection in the 2018 MLB Draft. India was selected fifth overall by the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.
India hit .364/.504/.733 with 18 home runs for the Gators as a junior, with more walks (49) than strikeouts (48), and had a 24-game hitting streak. He was the regular third baseman for Florida but also saw time at shortstop and second base, adding to his versatility.
“We think Jonathan is an extremely exciting athlete who can impact the game in many ways,” said Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams. “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.”
Baseball America ranked India as the sixth-best prospect heading into the draft, saying “he has solid hands and an average arm” for the hot corner, adding, “If third base is the destination, he has more than enough bat to profile there, especially if this year’s power display is here to stay.”
He hit 10 home runs in his first two years combined at Florida.
The Milwaukee Brewers drafted India in the 26th round out of American Heritage High School in Florida in 2015, but he decided to go to college instead.
“It was down to the last minute for me,” India told SEC Country. “Originally, I wasn’t really going to come to college. I had everything set, but things didn’t go right at the end and I’m glad I’m here. … It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”
The No. 5 overall pick carries with it an allotted slot bonus value of $5,946,400.