Analysis: Seiya Suzuki and his historic start in MLB

Seiya Suzuki and his historic start in the MLB (2)
Chicago Cubs' Seiya Suzuki hits his second home run of the baseball game, a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Anthony Banda during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

When the Chicago Cubs sign Nippon Professional Baseball star from the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, no one thought that Seiya Suzuki‘s lumber could make such an evident impact in such a short amount of time, but during the two weeks we’ve see him in the Major Leagues, he has revealed how incorrect we were with our preconceptions.

Seiya Suzuki’s spectacular start in the big leagues

The Japanese native has left it all on the field to this day, proving his numbers weren’t just a mirage in the Eastern League: .310/.403/.544 along with 193 homers, 632 RBIs, 618 runs scored, 210 doubles and 102 stolen bases in 168 attempts through 1055 games and nine seasons since making his debut in 2013 as an 18-year-old.

Seiya Suzuki and his historic start in MLB
Chicago Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki (27) plays against the Milwaukee Brewers in a baseball game, Sunday, April, 10, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

With the Cubs, who own a 6-4 record to date, he has a .400/.543/.960 line with a 1.503 OPS, four homers, two doubles, 11 RBIs and seven runs scored in just 25 at-bats and nine games with Chicago. He has hit safely in nine consecutive games, tying Andy Pafko (who did it in 1943) as the only and last member of the team to start his career with at least one hit in each of his games.

He’s become such a phenomenon that he’s already been named player of the week for the first time in his career, just three months after arriving on the American continent. For the time being, he has no competition for the National League Rookie of the Year award, and if his numbers stay consistent for the rest of the year, he might even win the same old circuit’s MVP award.

At 27 years old, his adaptation to Major League pitching has been immediate, with only 50 pitches swung at and 24 runs scored, demonstrating the excellent seasoned ability he possesses in his swing.

It’s true that much remains to be seen, such as the evolution of his glove inside the diamond and the adjustments he will have to make sooner or later in the season as pitchers come to know him better: for the Japanese player, that will be the moment of truth. The Chicago Cubs will find out then if they have one of MLB‘s future stars on their hands, as well as another chance to compete at the greatest level in the near future.

After all, a five-year, $85,000,000 million dollar contract is not given to just anyone who is nearly 30 years old and has never seen Major League pitching in his life.

Seiya Suzuki and his historic MLB start (2)
Chicago Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki hits his second home run of the baseball game, a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Anthony Banda during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

It’s unfortunate that Chicago is in the midst of a rebuild, because that will limit Suzuki’s ability to perform in an environment where competition increases exponentially, such as the playoffs. Who knows, if Seiya Suzuki‘s bat continues to produce these results, would he be able to pull off the feat of carrying the Cubs all the way to the October party on his back? It sounds like a fanatic’s fantasy, but at this rate, the sky’s the limit for the Japanese player until he comes back down to earth.

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