Gators in MLB: Reds' Jonathan India earns NL Rookie of Year honors

Special to
Cincinnati Reds' Jonathan India, a former standout at UF, won every major award as NL Rookie of the Year.

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India earned NL Rookie of the Year on Monday night.

India won the NL award eight months after earning the team's second base job during spring training and never letting it go during a stellar first season.

The 24-year-old India received 29 of 30 first-place votes, beating out Miami left-handed pitcher Trevor Rogers and St. Louis outfielder Dylan Carlson. Rogers got one first-place vote. India, a standout at the University of Florida, said it's been an amazing journey from spring training, where he was a longshot to even make the regular-season roster.

“I didn't really have a role on the team, I was just there to fill in for some guys who weren't playing,” India said. “I kind of took it personal. I just wanted to be a big leaguer this season and I made it a point to put my head down and grind."

India was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 draft and played third base at Florida, but he's found a home at second base in the big leagues and become a cornerstone for the Reds' future. His quick impact in the big leagues was somewhat surprising considering he had just 111 at-bats above Single-A before 2021.

He was the Reds' first rookie of the year winner since pitcher Scott Williamson in 1999.

The 6-foot, 200-pound India was an all-around threat — particularly during the second half of the season — often batting leadoff and finishing with a .269 average, 34 doubles, 21 homers, 69 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. He also showed good discipline in the batter's box, coaxing 71 walks to finish with a .376 on-base percentage, and scored 98 runs.

India becomes the second former UF standout in three seasons to take home N.L. Rookie of the Year honors. New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso won the award in 2019 after setting the Major League Baseball rookie record with 53 home runs. Florida is the only college program to have two Rookie of the Year winners in a span of four years or less.

India, who helped the Gators capture their first-ever NCAA Championship in 2017, batted a combined .310/.411/.530 over his three-year Florida career from 2016-18.