Biographical

Portrait of Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro Suzuki RFYankees

Yankees Player Cards | Yankees Team Audit | Yankees Depth Chart

2014 Rest-of-Season Projections (seasonal age 40)
PA AVG HR R RBI SB TAv WARP
2 .279 0 0 0 0 .244 0.0
Birth Date10-22-1973
Height5' 11"
Weight170 lbs
Age41 years, 0 months, 3 days
BatsL
ThrowsR
2.82010
-0.72011
1.52012
0.02013
0.42014
+proj
WARP Summary

Standard

YEAR TEAM AGE G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR TB BB SO HBP SF SH RBI SB CS AVG OBP SLG TAv VORP FRAA WARP
2001 SEA 27 157 738 692 127 242 34 8 8 316 30 53 8 4 4 69 56 14 .350 .381 .457 .303 57.7 8.7 6.5
2002 SEA 28 157 728 647 111 208 27 8 8 275 68 62 5 5 3 51 31 15 .321 .388 .425 .293 37.4 10.6 4.8
2003 SEA 29 159 725 679 111 212 29 8 13 296 36 69 6 1 3 62 34 8 .312 .352 .436 .282 40.8 -0.3 4.0
2004 SEA 30 161 762 704 101 262 24 5 8 320 49 63 4 3 2 60 36 11 .372 .414 .455 .303 59.4 0.2 5.8
2005 SEA 31 162 739 679 111 206 21 12 15 296 48 66 4 6 2 68 33 8 .303 .350 .436 .276 31.5 12.3 4.4
2006 SEA 32 161 752 695 110 224 20 9 9 289 49 71 5 2 1 49 45 2 .322 .370 .416 .273 37.7 1.7 3.8
2007 SEA 33 161 736 678 111 238 22 7 6 292 49 77 3 2 4 68 37 8 .351 .396 .431 .291 54.3 8.2 6.1
2008 SEA 34 162 749 686 103 213 20 7 6 265 51 65 5 4 3 42 43 4 .310 .361 .386 .273 43.7 4.7 4.9
2009 SEA 35 146 678 639 88 225 31 4 11 297 32 71 4 1 2 46 26 9 .352 .386 .465 .298 41.0 0.5 4.2
2010 SEA 36 162 732 680 74 214 30 3 6 268 45 86 3 1 3 43 42 9 .315 .359 .394 .278 27.4 -0.9 2.8
2011 SEA 37 161 721 677 80 184 22 3 5 227 39 69 0 4 1 47 40 7 .272 .310 .335 .242 11.3 -18.0 -0.7
2012 NYA 38 67 240 227 28 73 13 1 5 103 5 21 2 1 5 27 14 5 .322 .340 .454 .279 6.9 -2.1 0.5
2012 SEA 38 95 423 402 49 105 15 5 4 142 17 40 0 4 0 28 15 2 .261 .288 .353 .234 2.2 6.8 1.0
2013 NYA 39 150 555 520 57 136 15 3 7 178 26 63 1 2 6 35 20 4 .262 .297 .342 .240 5.6 -5.2 0.0
2014 NYA 40 143 385 359 42 102 13 2 1 122 21 68 1 2 2 22 15 3 .284 .324 .340 .250 4.5 -1.4 0.4
Career22049663896413032844336851123686565944514241717487109.317.360.411.277461.325.948.6

Advanced

'opp' stats - Quality of opponents faced - have been moved and are available only as OPP_QUAL in the Statistics reports now.
Minor league stats are currently shownClick to hide.
YEAR Team Lg G PA TAv oppAVG oppOBP oppSLG oppTAv BABIP BPF BRAA repLVL POS_ADJ FRAA BRR BVORP BWARP VORP WARP
2001 SEA MLB 157 738 .303 .271 .334 .437 .265 .369 95 34.9 20.2 -8.2 8.7 9.0 57.7 6.5 57.7 6.5
2002 SEA MLB 157 728 .293 .266 .333 .425 .265 .344 94 25.9 19.4 -7.7 10.6 3.1 37.4 4.8 37.4 4.8
2003 SEA MLB 159 725 .282 .266 .331 .425 .263 .333 97 17 19.7 -7.9 -0.3 5.3 40.8 4.0 40.8 4.0
2004 SEA MLB 161 762 .303 .268 .332 .426 .257 .399 102 36.3 22.7 -8.5 0.2 5.3 59.4 5.8 59.4 5.8
2005 SEA MLB 162 739 .276 .264 .324 .415 .259 .316 97 12.3 21.3 -8 12.3 7.4 31.5 4.4 31.5 4.4
2006 SEA MLB 161 752 .273 .271 .332 .427 .255 .348 101 11 22.6 -5.9 1.7 5.3 37.7 3.8 37.7 3.8
2007 SEA MLB 161 736 .291 .268 .331 .418 .262 .389 96 25.2 21.8 1.4 8.2 0.9 54.3 6.1 54.3 6.1
2008 SEA MLB 162 749 .273 .265 .332 .414 .260 .334 98 10.5 21.6 -3.9 4.7 10.6 43.7 4.9 43.7 4.9
2009 SEA MLB 146 678 .298 .264 .329 .420 .258 .384 99 27.6 19.5 -7.3 0.5 2.7 41.0 4.2 41.0 4.2
2010 SEA MLB 162 732 .278 .257 .321 .403 .255 .353 98 13.5 20.2 -7.5 -0.9 2.2 27.4 2.8 27.4 2.8
2011 SEA MLB 161 721 .242 .255 .315 .400 .257 .295 94 -12.9 19.4 -7.5 -18.0 8.9 11.3 -0.7 11.3 -0.7
2012 NYA MLB 67 240 .279 .251 .318 .400 .258 .337 103 4.6 6.6 -1.8 -2.1 -1.3 6.9 0.5 6.9 0.5
2012 SEA MLB 95 423 .234 .255 .316 .410 .262 .279 91 -10.7 11.6 -4.4 6.8 1.8 2.2 1.0 2.2 1.0
2013 NYA MLB 150 555 .240 .250 .313 .394 .261 .285 100 -10.8 14.6 -4.8 -5.2 4.1 5.6 0.0 5.6 0.0
2014 NYA MLB 143 385 .250 .249 .309 .384 .259 .346 101 -3.6 9.9 -3.4 -1.4 2.6 4.5 0.4 4.5 0.4

Statistics For All Levels

Minor league stats are currently shownClick to hide.
Year Team Lg PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG ISO TAv VORP FRAA WARP
2001 SEA MLB 738 127 242 34 8 8 69 30 53 56 14 .350 .381 .457 .107 .303 57.7 8.7 6.5
2002 SEA MLB 728 111 208 27 8 8 51 68 62 31 15 .321 .388 .425 .104 .293 37.4 10.6 4.8
2003 SEA MLB 725 111 212 29 8 13 62 36 69 34 8 .312 .352 .436 .124 .282 40.8 -0.3 4.0
2004 SEA MLB 762 101 262 24 5 8 60 49 63 36 11 .372 .414 .455 .082 .303 59.4 0.2 5.8
2005 SEA MLB 739 111 206 21 12 15 68 48 66 33 8 .303 .350 .436 .133 .276 31.5 12.3 4.4
2006 SEA MLB 752 110 224 20 9 9 49 49 71 45 2 .322 .370 .416 .094 .273 37.7 1.7 3.8
2007 SEA MLB 736 111 238 22 7 6 68 49 77 37 8 .351 .396 .431 .080 .291 54.3 8.2 6.1
2008 SEA MLB 749 103 213 20 7 6 42 51 65 43 4 .310 .361 .386 .076 .273 43.7 4.7 4.9
2009 SEA MLB 678 88 225 31 4 11 46 32 71 26 9 .352 .386 .465 .113 .298 41.0 0.5 4.2
2010 SEA MLB 732 74 214 30 3 6 43 45 86 42 9 .315 .359 .394 .079 .278 27.4 -0.9 2.8
2011 SEA MLB 721 80 184 22 3 5 47 39 69 40 7 .272 .310 .335 .064 .242 11.3 -18.0 -0.7
2012 NYA MLB 240 28 73 13 1 5 27 5 21 14 5 .322 .340 .454 .132 .279 6.9 -2.1 0.5
2012 SEA MLB 423 49 105 15 5 4 28 17 40 15 2 .261 .288 .353 .092 .234 2.2 6.8 1.0
2013 NYA MLB 555 57 136 15 3 7 35 26 63 20 4 .262 .297 .342 .081 .240 5.6 -5.2 0.0
2014 NYA MLB 385 42 102 13 2 1 22 21 68 15 3 .284 .324 .340 .056 .250 4.5 -1.4 0.4

Plate Discipline

YEAR PITCHES ZONE_RT SWING_RT CONTACT_RT Z_SWING_RT O_SWING_RT Z_CONTACT_RT O_CONTACT_RT SW_STRK_RT
2008 2518 0.4762 0.4609 0.9112 0.6072 0.3275 0.9423 0.8588 0.0862
2009 2423 0.4920 0.4909 0.8856 0.6216 0.3639 0.9150 0.8371 0.1127
2010 2681 0.4853 0.4970 0.8911 0.6264 0.3746 0.9325 0.8259 0.1081
2011 2467 0.4884 0.4947 0.9066 0.6373 0.3582 0.9414 0.8473 0.0934
2012 2260 0.5049 0.4945 0.9132 0.6275 0.3584 0.9441 0.8579 0.0868
2013 2038 0.5005 0.5103 0.8672 0.6353 0.3841 0.9043 0.8056 0.1299
2014 1512 0.5238 0.4663 0.8454 0.6187 0.2986 0.9000 0.7209 0.1546
Career158990.49380.48840.89160.62490.35470.92770.82810.1072

Injury History

Date On Date Off Transaction Days Games Side Body Part Injury Severity Surgery Date Reaggravation
2014-05-12 2014-05-16 DTD 4 4 - Low Back Soreness - -
2009-08-24 2009-09-01 DTD 8 8 Left Lower Leg Strain Calf -
2009-03-31 2009-04-15 15-DL 15 8 General Medical Illness GI - Ulcer -
2008-07-10 2008-07-10 DTD 0 0 Right Thigh Soreness Hamstring -
2007-07-15 2007-07-15 DTD 0 0 Right Knee Contusion HBP -
2006-09-17 2006-09-17 DTD 0 0 Right Lower Leg Contusion HBP -
2005-09-18 2005-09-18 DTD 0 0 Right Elbow Contusion HBP -
2005-09-17 2005-09-17 DTD 0 0 Right Foot Contusion HBP -
2004-08-19 2004-08-20 DTD 1 0 Head Concussion HBP -
2004-04-14 2004-04-14 DTD 0 0 Right Foot Contusion Foul Ball -

Compensation

Year Team Salary
2014 NYA $6,500,000
2013 NYA $6,500,000
2012 SEA $18,000,000
2011 SEA $18,000,000
2010 SEA $18,000,000
2009 SEA $18,000,000
2008 SEA $17,000,000
2007 SEA $12,500,000
2006 SEA $12,500,000
2005 SEA $12,500,000
2004 SEA $6,500,000
2003 SEA $4,666,667
2002 SEA $3,696,000
2001 SEA $5,666,667
YearsDescriptionSalary
13 yrPrevious$153,529,334
2011Current$6,500,000
14 yrPvs + Cur$160,029,334
14 yrTotal$160,029,334

 

Service TimeAgentContract Status
13 y 0 dTony Attanasio2 years/$13M (2013-14)

Details
  • 2 years/$13M (2013-14). Re-signed by NY Yankees as a free agent 12/13/12. 13:$6.5M, 14:$6.5M.
  • 5 years/$90M (2008-12). Signed extension with Seattle 7/13/07. $5M signing bonus. 08-12: $17M annually. $25M ($5M annually) deferred at 5.5% interest, reducing deal's average annual value to $16.1M (deferred money to be paid in annual installments Jan. 30 beginning year after his retirement). Limited no-trade clause allowing Ichiro to specify 10 clubs to which he may not be traded without his consent. Performance and award bonuses, including $50,000 for All Star selection. Interpreter, trainer, transportation for Spring Training & regular season. 4 annual round-trip airline tickets from Seattle to Japan. Housing allowance: $32,000 in 2008, $33,000 in 2009, $34,000 in 2010, $35,000 in 2011, $36,000 in 2012. Acquired by NY Yankees in trade from Seattle 7/23/12.
  • 4 years/$44M (2004-07). Signed extension with Seattle 12/03 (avoided arbitration). $6M signing bonus. 04:$5M, 05-07: $11M annually. # limited no-trade clause (may block deals to 10 clubs). Award bonuses: $50,000 each for Gold Glove, All Star selection. $1.25M in performance bonuses for plate appearances. $50,000 each for 400 PAs, 2004-06. $0.1M each for 500 & 600 PAs, 2004-06. $0.1M for 400 PAs, 2007. $0.2M each for 500 & 600 PAs, 2007. Housing allowance: $28,000 in 2004, $29,000 in 2005, $30,000 in 2006, $31,000 in 2007. Interpreter, trainer, transportation for spring & regular season. 4 annual round-trip airline tickets from Seattle to Japan
  • 3 years/$14.088 (2001-03). $5M signing bonus. 01:$4M, 02:$2M, 03:$3M. $7M deferred with interest. $4M of bonus, $2M of 2001 salary, $1M of 2003 salary. Full no-trade clause. Performance bonuses: $0.4M each for 200, 250, 300, 350, 450 PAs in 2001. $0.6M each for 200, 250, 300, 350, 450 PAs in 2003. Award bonuses: $0.15M for MVP ($0.2M for 2nd award, $0.25M for 3rd). $0.1M for WS MVP. $75,000 for Rookie of the Year. $50,000 each for LCS MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger. $75,000 for most All-Star votes. $50,000 for most All-Star votes in AL. $50,000 for All-Star start. $25,000 for All-Star reserve. $10,000 moving allowance, plus use of car, trainer, interpreter. 2001-03 housing allowances: $25,000, $26,000, $27,000. Four first-class, round-trip air tickets between Japan & Seattle, twice a year
  • Seattle paid $13.125M for negotiating rights with Ichiro (signed 11/00)
  • Orix of Japan Pacific League posted Ichiro after 2000 season

2014 Preseason Forecast

Last Update: 3/11/2014 05:35 ET

PCT PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG TAv VORP FRAA WARP
90o 292 33 85 12 2 3 28 14 32 15 3 .312 .346 .404 .272 10.6 LF 1, RF -1 1.1
80o 278 30 79 11 2 3 26 13 31 13 3 .301 .334 .389 .262 7.6 LF 1, RF -1 0.8
70o 267 28 73 10 1 3 24 12 30 13 3 .293 .326 .378 .256 5.6 LF 1, RF -1 0.5
60o 258 27 69 10 1 2 23 12 30 12 3 .286 .318 .369 .250 4.0 LF 0, RF -1 0.4
50o 250 26 65 9 1 2 22 11 29 11 2 .280 .312 .361 .245 2.6 LF 0, RF -1 0.2
40o 242 24 62 9 1 2 21 11 28 11 2 .273 .305 .353 .240 1.3 LF 0, RF -1 0.1
30o 233 23 58 8 1 2 20 10 27 10 2 .267 .298 .344 .234 0.0 LF 0, RF -1 -0.1
20o 222 21 55 8 1 2 18 9 27 9 2 .259 .289 .333 .227 -1.5 LF 0, RF -1 -0.2
10o 208 19 49 7 1 2 17 8 25 8 2 .248 .277 .319 .218 -3.2 LF 0, RF -1 -0.4
Weighted Mean2512665912221129112.281.313.362.2462.8LF 0, RF -10.2

Diagnostics

Breakout Rate Improve Rate Collapse Rate Attrition Rate MLB %
0% 19% 9% 25% 66%

Long-Term Forecast (Beyond the 2014 Projections)

Playing time estimates are based on performance, not Depth Charts.
Year Age PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG TAv WARP VORP BRR POS_ADJ REP_ADJ RAA FRAA
20154125023628111810319.260.289.311.220-0.2-1.71.0-1.42.2-3.5-0.6
20164225023618111912339.258.294.311.226-0.2-1.10.8-1.51.2-1.6-0.6
20174325021577111710357.238.268.284.209-0.4-3.10.5-1.52.0-4.0-0.6
2018442502158810179356.243.272.283.206-1.1-9.40.3-1.66.9-15.0-0.6
2019452502157710169365.240.268.279.202-2.4-21.10.2-1.714.9-34.6-0.6
2021472502056710169384.235.262.272.197-2.7-24.40.0-1.814.9-37.6-0.6
2022482502055710169393.232.259.270.194-1.1-9.7-0.0-1.94.8-12.6-0.6
2023492502055710168402.229.254.264.190-3.2-28.4-0.0-1.914.9-41.4-0.6

Upside By Year

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 PEAK 5
5.32.41.60.70.60.210.5

Comparable Players (Similarity Index 61)

Rank Score Name Year TAv Trend
1 79 Kenny Lofton 2007 .280
2 77 Lou Piniella 1984 .249
3 77 Paul Molitor 1997 .274
4 76 Bob Boyd 1960 .284
5 75 So Taguchi 2010 .000 DNP
6 75 Enos Slaughter 1956 .276
7 72 Mark Grudzielanek 2010 .215
8 71 Melvin Mora 2012 .000 DNP
9 70 Brett Butler 1997 .254
10 69 Tony Gwynn 2000 .283
11 69 Rod Carew 1986 .000 DNP
12 69 Moises Alou 2007 .297
13 68 Jim Eisenreich 1999 .000 DNP
14 68 Jose Cruz 1988 .216
15 68 Gene Woodling 1963 .000 DNP
16 67 Brian Jordan 2007 .000 DNP
17 67 Davey Lopes 1985 .276
18 67 B.J. Surhoff 2005 .224
19 67 Pete Rose 1981 .292
20 66 Cal Ripken Jr. 2001 .222
21 66 Henry Blanco 2012 .196
22 66 Omar Vizquel 2007 .215
23 66 Wally Joyner 2002 .000 DNP
24 65 Eric Young 2007 .000 DNP
25 65 Tim Raines 2000 .000 DNP
26 65 Rico Carty 1980 .000 DNP
27 65 Harold Baines 1999 .300
28 64 Steve Finley 2005 .231
29 64 Hal McRae 1986 .249
30 64 Al Kaline 1975 .000 DNP
31 64 Wade Boggs 1998 .264
32 63 Stan Musial 1961 .296
33 63 George Brett 1993 .256
34 62 Lee Lacy 1988 .000 DNP
35 62 Craig Counsell 2011 .199
36 62 Ken Griffey 1990 .284
37 62 Ivan Rodriguez 2012 .000 DNP
38 62 Mickey Vernon 1958 .296
39 62 Dave Philley 1960 .231
40 61 Luis Gonzalez 2008 .262
41 61 Randy Velarde 2003 .000 DNP
42 61 Eddie Murray 1996 .254
43 61 Ron Fairly 1979 .000 DNP
44 61 Graig Nettles 1985 .285
45 61 Dave Winfield 1992 .313
46 61 Walker Cooper 1955 .275
47 60 Gregg Zaun 2011 .000 DNP
48 60 Brad Ausmus 2009 .247
49 60 Dave Bergman 1993 .000 DNP
50 60 Gary Sheffield 2009 .283
51 60 Dwight Evans 1992 .000 DNP
52 60 Brian Downing 1991 .302
53 59 Carl Yastrzemski 1980 .275
54 59 Birdie Tebbetts 1953 .000 DNP
55 59 Andre Dawson 1995 .253
56 59 Eric Davis 2002 .000 DNP
57 59 Wally Moses 1951 .215
58 59 Rusty Staub 1984 .224
59 58 Gary Gaetti 1999 .211
60 58 Jim Dwyer 1990 .226
61 58 Rafael Palmeiro 2005 .278
62 58 Raul Ibanez 2012 .264
63 57 Jeff Kent 2008 .261
64 57 Barry Larkin 2004 .259
65 57 Johnny Mize 1953 .276
66 57 Pee Wee Reese 1959 .000 DNP
67 57 Ken Griffey 2010 .176
68 57 Don Baylor 1989 .000 DNP
69 56 Tony Taylor 1976 .270
70 56 Chili Davis 2000 .000 DNP
71 56 Mark Grace 2004 .000 DNP
72 56 Rickey Henderson 1999 .303
73 56 Maury Wills 1973 .000 DNP
74 56 Luis Aparicio 1974 .000 DNP
75 55 Lou Brock 1979 .257
76 55 Joe Morgan 1984 .275
77 55 Fred McGriff 2004 .203
78 54 Carlton Fisk 1988 .327
79 54 Elston Howard 1969 .000 DNP
80 54 Edgar Martinez 2003 .306
81 54 Brooks Robinson 1977 .179
82 54 Bill Buckner 1990 .171
83 53 Otis Nixon 1999 .213
84 53 Ozzie Smith 1995 .190
85 53 Ron Cey 1988 .000 DNP
86 53 Willie McGee 1999 .203
87 53 Matt Stairs 2008 .260
88 53 Ernie Banks 1971 .217
89 53 Jason Varitek 2012 .000 DNP
90 52 Mike Schmidt 1990 .000 DNP
91 52 Tony Phillips 1999 .269
92 52 Tom Paciorek 1987 .264
93 51 Frank White 1991 .000 DNP
94 51 Jim Rivera 1962 .000 DNP
95 51 Tony Perez 1982 .266
96 50 Norm Cash 1975 .000 DNP
97 50 Darrell Evans 1987 .307
98 50 Eddie Joost 1956 .000 DNP
99 50 Willie Mays 1971 .337
100 50 Todd Pratt 2007 .000 DNP

Platoon

SORT_FIELD PLATOON AVG OBP SLG TAv
10 vs L (Multi) .304 .322 .384 .258
11 vs R (Multi) .266 .307 .355 .245
18 Split (Multi) -.038 -.014 -.029 -.014
19 LgAvg (Multi) .027 .038 .071 .034
30 vs L (2013) .321 .331 .421 .270
31 vs R (2013) .235 .282 .307 .221
38 Split (2013) -.085 -.049 -.114 -.050
39 LgAvg (2013) .026 .037 .071 .034

BP Annual Player Comments

YearComment
2014 Due to publishing agreements, the 2014 player comments and team essays are only available in the Baseball Prospectus 2014 book (available in hardcopy, e-book, and Kindle).
2013 When the Yankees traded for Ichiro, he had a .261/.288/.353 line and what would have been the lowest BABIP of his career; the team’s intention was to replace some of the speed and defense that was lost when Gardner went down, not to upgrade offensively. Expectations status: exceeded. The first sight of Suzuki in something other than a Seattle uniform was strange, but once the newness wore off, fans quickly rediscovered vintage Ichiro. Whether his revival owed to the invigoration of leaving the last-place Mariners or simply to playing home games in Yankee Stadium instead of Safeco Field (he hit .359/.385/.564 in the Bronx), Ichiro continued to surge after August (.362/.376/.486) while playing both outfield corners, and he was one of the few Yankees who didn’t disappear at the plate in October. That made the Yankees forget he was 39, so they re-signed him for two more years. Maybe they were just trying to extend their commitment to aging former Mariners outfielders whose last names start with I.
2012 For a few weeks in August and September, a flurry of singles got Ichiro within range of his 11th consecutive 200-hit season. It was probably good for his legacy that he failed. Had he collected 16 extra singles to get to 200, he would have had a .295/.332/.363 season line, the 22nd-best performance out of 23 qualifying right fielders. If that's all it takes to get to 200, what good is 200? Instead, Ichiro came up short, and we can remember the first decade of his career in the best possible light. The question, after a negative-WARP season, is whether this is it for the Ichiro we used to love. He struck out just as infrequently as ever, hit just as many line drives, and stole just as many bases, at the same high success rate, as ever. His offensive collapse, then, comes to a 100-point BABIP drop on line drives (luck) and a 40-point BABIP drop on grounders (age?). Ichiro has tormented PECOTA by defying BABIP expectations, in a positive way, for years. Ironically, his career now depends on BABIP treating him as it does every other player, and regressing to his career norms.
2011 Over 200 hits, powered by an MLB-high infield-hit percentage? Check. Prolific basestealing at a superlative rate of success? Check. Stellar play in the field, distinguished by extreme range, a strong arm, and the quickest release in baseball (sorry, Mrs. Suzuki), as determined by the Fans Scouting Report? Check. Although he’s had better performances at the plate, Mariners fans were treated to more of the usual lofty play from Ichiro in 2010, even as his team fell to pieces around him. The lefty’s indefinite postponement of a sequel to his first-ever DL trip in 2009 enabled him to reach the 162-game mark for the third time in his career. This severely cut into his quality time with the newly released Dragon Quest IX, but ensured at least one constant bright spot in an otherwise languid lineup. Suzuki will be 37 on Opening Day, and while he won’t continue to cheat Father Time forever, the next chink to appear in his armor will be the first.
2010 Despite missing 16 games with a bleeding ulcer and a sore calf, Ichiro put together his ninth straight season of 200 hits in as many major-league campaigns. His unconventional swing produces ground balls (55 percent career rate), but unlike a lot of slap-and-run guys, he hits them hard enough that they find holes. When they stay in the infield, Ichiro is excellent at beating them out: he has 463 career infield hits, and he set a career high last season with 63. This was also the highest infield hit rate of his career—he turned 16 percent of his ground balls into safeties—so Ichiro's showing no signs of slowing down despite his age. When he plays his first game this season, he'll have satisfied the minimum ten-year requirement for the Hall of Fame, and there's little doubt we'll see him in Cooperstown.
2009 Suzuki had his worst season at the plate in 2008, though all that separated it from his successful 2007 was a 40-point drop in batting average. That decline stemmed from a BABIP that was below-average by his standards, but it remains to be seen whether that was a one-year blip, or an indication that Ichiro may have lost a step at age 34—a development which could augur his downfall, since a substantial portion of his hits never leave the infield. His work in the outfield also took a step back last season, supporting the deteriorating-wheels hypothesis, though he remains a plus defender. Suzuki reportedly took the Mariners' disastrous season hard, becoming less animated both on the field and in the clubhouse, but attributing his decline in performance to excessive team spirit (a quality his teammates have never accused him of possessing) when other factors can explain it is about as logical as believing that a player who only managed to top 20 homers twice in Japan could hit them at will in the majors, if only he could be bothered to.
2008 Suzuki was given a five-year, $90 million extension last in July, which grants him a luxurious amount of time to go after a number of franchise records. If he stays healthy, Julio Cruz's career stolen base mark is virtually guaranteed to go down in 2008, as is Edgar Martinez's record for career singles, and Martinez's marks in hits and runs scored could be within reach before the end of the extension. There's little question that M's fans will enjoy having Ichiro around in 2008 and 2009, the question is how they'll feel when he's getting paid $17 million a year in 2011 and 2012. Speed players age well, and part of Suzuki's appeal is the idea that he's holding back further reserves of talent-who wouldn't love to see him in the home run derby, for example?-but that's a sizeable bet to place on anyone's age-37 and -38 seasons.
2007 Ichiro finally made the shift to center field in August, just in time to enter the walk year of his contract; his projected VORP for 2007 would jump up from 13.8 as a right fielder (as shown above) to 27.0 as a center fielder. It`s almost inconceivable that Seattle wouldn`t keep Suzuki on for the three additional years it will probably take for him to reach 2,000 hits in his major league career. In 2007 he will pass 3,000 hits for his combined career in Japan and the United States. PECOTA`s pessimism is based on the fact that some of Ichiro`s comps have lost their wheels at this age, but it`s hard to imagine Suzuki slowing down after enjoying one of the best basestealing seasons in history. Ichiro`s 95.7 percent stolen base success rate in 2006 is the all-time high for anyone who`s attempted 40 steals. In addition, the threat of Ichiro`s speed led to four botched pickoff attempts, tied with Scott Podsednik and Willy Taveras for most in the majors.
2006 The idea that a corner outfielder must be a bruising power hitter goes against every word ever written by Baseball Prospectus on roster construction. An intelligent team seeks to put the best team on the field, regardless of conventions. A shortstop may hit 40 home runs, and a corner outfielder may walk 100 times and steal 130 bases or hit .370 with a few homers, a bunch of doubles and triples, terrific range and the best throwing arm in the game. Ichiro isn`t Barry Bonds, but we should afford him a full measure of respect for his contribution to the Mariners, both on the field and--in the millions in revenue he helps the Mariners generate through his overseas appeal--off of it, too. Expect further skills consolidation in 2006: Ichiro`s lost some of the speed that let him leg out enough bleeders to hit .370, but he should continue to boost his extra-base hit totals. Look for a few more walks too; the 16 unintentionals he drew last year were unusually low for him.
2005 Ichiro! Say it! Ichiro! You can't say his name without enthusiasm! Two-hundred and sixty-two hits in a season, a new record! A .414 on-base percentage in one of the most punishing pitcher's parks in baseball! Ichiro's not the most valuable player in baseball—but he is absolutely the coolest!

There was some scorn towards Ichiro's record pursuit because it relied on so many singles. But it's a long-standing record, which is part of why it got so little attention before this year. Ichiro broke it while having a great year that kept a city excited about baseball during a time as depressing as a Seattle winter come early. Ichiro is the best dead-ball player modern baseball has seen in ages, and we should celebrate that baseball is a game where players can be so good while contributing in such unique ways.

There is no player in the major leagues who respects baseball more than Ichiro, from the records he chases, to his teammates and opponents, to the gloves he wears. When he broke the hits record, he jogged to Sisler's kids and grandkids in the stands, bowed, talked briefly to them, bowed again, and returned to first. People who dislike him because his first name is on his uniform miss the larger picture.
2003 Ichiro ran into a wall late in the season and had to get stitches in his knee. It affected his run-and-dash style, and he didn’t beat out as many hits or steal as much. Don’t believe the annual Sports Illustrated “pitchers will catch up to him” predictions: he’ll be healthy and he’ll have another good season. One of the uglier things baseball has ignored is the racism that’s followed Ichiro around. In Oakland, for instance, fans shout Charlie Chan-style imitations, confusing their Chinese and Japanese racial taunts, asking him to do their laundry. “Ichiro Number One Strikeout Big Time!” I’m shocked that displays of racism go unchallenged in open society.
2002 Along with Vladimir Guerrero, Cliff Floyd, and Chipper Jones, Ichiro is hugely productive despite not seeing many pitches: these guys swing at and hit the first good pitch they see. Jones somehow managed to walk nearly 100 times, but the others weren’t even close. Ichiro is one of the best reasons in baseball to buy a ticket. While he’s not as productive as some other players—and was a lousy MVP selection—Ichiro’s crazy bat artwork, base-stealing, and his sometimes brilliant defense all combine to make him an entertainment bargain.
2001 Ichiro Suzuki will be the first non-pitcher from the Japanese professional leagues to play in the majors. He begins the quest at the peak of his career, following seven consecutive Pacific League batting titles. Mariners’ owner Hiroshi Yamauchi made sure that Suzuki would get to play for his team of choice by submitting a $13.1-million bid to the Blue Wave merely for the rights to negotiate with him. Johnny Damon is the player most frequently mentioned when describing Suzuki; it’s a fair comparison.
2000 Already a six-time Pacific League batting champ, he spent part of spring training in Peoria in an exchange between Seattle and its sister city, Kobe. Suzuki is listed only as a tease--he is tethered to the Japanese League through 2001, after which he would be free to sign with any team.

BP Articles

Ichiro Suzuki is referenced in the following articles.

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BP Chats

DateQuestionAnswer
2011-11-30 13:00:00 (link to chat)Keeping with a Japanese import theme, who are the 5 greatest Japanese MLBers of all time?
(Paul from DC)
Ichiro Suzuki is the clear #1. For #2, I'd go Hideo Nomo, with Hideki Matsui #3. The falloff after that is steep; I'll argue for Hiroki Kuroda as #4 and Takashi Saito #5 based upon peak performance and for not disappointing relative to expectations. (Jay Jaffe)
2010-01-06 13:00:00 (link to chat)Ichiro Suzuki, Hall Of Famer or not?
(Ron from Vancouver)
I think he gets in when his time comes, though I'm a bit less sold on his JAWS merits with the latest round of numbers than I was this summer: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9416 (Jay Jaffe)
2009-11-19 13:00:00 (link to chat)Hi Joe, Thanks for the chat. Thinking about this questions today: what is the relationship between a high contact rate (90 plus) and walk rate? Is a high contact rate going to suppress walks?
(lagronem from Newark, DE)
Absolutely. A high contact rate will limit the number of deep counts. The low walk rates of Ichiro Suzuki, Nomar Garciaparra, Don Mattingly...that's partly because when they swing they square the ball up. (Joe Sheehan)
2008-12-05 14:00:00 (link to chat)What's your position on Ichiro Suzuki for the Hall of Fame?
(oira61 from San Francisco)
I'm all for it, because his seven-year peak definitely holds up well next to the average HOFer and his shortened MLB career is a product of externalities that were not of his making. Plus I think he's been a tremendous ambassador for extending baseball's reach and creating new fans. (Jay Jaffe)
2008-10-06 14:00:00 (link to chat)Prior to the Ryan Howard era, which players in baseball were most overrated?
(Reed from Des Moines)
Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter, Garret Anderson. (Joe Sheehan)
2008-02-29 13:00:00 (link to chat)I know that way back when, Hamilton was throwing 95 mph. Is his outfield arm still 80 on the scouting scale?
(Or from Dallas)
A throwing question right off the bat, excellent.

In the essay "Expanding the Cannon" that you'll find in BP2K8 you'll see that among center fielders Josh Hamilton ranked 5th at +3.9 runs saved with his arm. That metric is composed of four components: hit advancement, throwing out runners stretching, fly ball advancement, and "other". Hamilton did well in both hit advancement and fly ball advancement (by virtue of just 4 of 35 runners advancing) although in 145 stretch opportunities he didn't nab anyone.

Of course he did all of this in just 62 adjusted games. In the essay I also describe the rate statistic scaled to 550 opportunities and there he ended up at +8.9 behind a few other guys with limited playing time (for example Jason Lane and Jacque Jones who had 29 and 72 adjusted games in center respectively. Among centerfielders who played more Ichiro Suzuki came out on top at +6.0 in 149 adjusted games with Andruw Jones and Bill Hall next in line.

By all accounts he does have a fine arm but of course in a smaller sample like this I would take these results with a grain of salt. It'll be interesting to see what he does with even more playing time in Texas in 2008. (Dan Fox)


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