Tuesday, September 27, 2022

A Seiya Suzuki Comparison to Mike Trout


Yes, I know, Mike Trout? Really? Yeah, I hate the player to player comparisons too, especially when it’s about a guy who hasn’t taken a single pitch in the majors, but we’re not saying that new Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki is the next greatest hitter in MLB history. However, when you take a look at some video of Suzuki smashing dingers in Japan you can’t help to notice similarities in his swing that remind you of Trout.

On our weekly Chicago baseball show, Pinwheels and Ivy Podcast, Kevin and Zo both saw some Trout in Suzuki’s swing. Here’s a quick breakdown.

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Suzuki put up incredible numbers during his career playing in Japan, making his debut at the age of 19 and quickly becoming a star in the NPB. He’s coming off a 38-homer season in which he slashed .317/.433/.636 in 134 games.

The right-handed hitter has been a five-time all-star and five-time gold glove winner in Japan. Of course, there are always going to be hesitations about any foreign coming to American and adjusting to MLB play. Yet, if you go by different scouting reports and people who know more than most about international leagues, the Cubs got themselves a pretty good player. The five-year, $85 million contract, which is the biggest signed by a Japanese position player in MLB history, definitely shows the Cubs’ belief in Suzuki.

FanGraphs’ Kevin Goldstein wrote about the signing and this paragraph will certainly make Cubs fans excited.

Via FanGraphs.

Suzuki certainly provides value beyond his hitting prowess as well. While not a base stealer, he does have average wheels and is a good baserunner who frequently can make the two-bag advancement on base hits. He shows good instincts and range in right field, and his arm is plus, but at times lacks accuracy. The baseline expectation is a plug-and-play corner outfielder worth three-plus wins, but there are evaluators out there who believe that the ‘plus’ part of that equation should be significant and take him into the star-level range of 4–5 WAR.

And here are the initial ZiPS projections for Suzuki during the next five seasons.

So, it seems as though observers believe if Suzuki does adjust quickly to MLB pitching and takes a step forward, then he will be a very important member of the next competitive Cubs team.

By the way, make sure to check out the Pinwheels and Ivy Podcast every week. Follow on Twitter and you’ll have the chance to win a cool spring training hat!

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