Seiya Suzuki is not following the script.
The Cubs big free agent outfielder from Japan was supposed to come over to the ‘States, struggle out of the gate, especially against high-velocity righties, split the fanbase in half, and make us all wonder if/when he’d ever figure it all out at the big league level. Instead, he squared up against four very well-established MLB starters (Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Jose Quintana), including the reigning NL Cy Young award winner, and came out the other end as one of the best hitters in MLB.
As of this morning, Suzuki is slashing .417/.529/1.167 (331 wRC+) in his very small sample to begin the season – that’s fourth highest among qualified hitters. Better yet, he’s been patient (4 BBs), he’s been powerful (3 HRs), he’s made nothing but hard contact (93.5 MPH average EV), and he’s done all of it while facing an average fastball of 94.4 MPH (above the MLB average). The league will likely tweak their approach eventually, and the period of adjustments is coming, but for now, Suzuki looks calm, cool, and collected as he makes history in MLB.
Seiya Suzuki of the @Cubs is the only MLB player with 8+ RBI and 4+ walks over his first 4 career games since RBI became an official stat in 1920.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) April 12, 2022
Suzuki was the entire Cubs offense against the Pirates yesterday, launching homers to left and right field. And according to Jordan Bastian, MLB.com, Suzuki is “now the only MLB player with eight-plus RBIs and four-plus walks in his first four career games since RBIs became an official stat in 1920. Suzuki also joined 2021 American League MVP Award winner Shohei Ohtani as the only Japanese-born players to hit three homers in the first four MLB games of his career (as a batter).”
Seiya Suzuki joins Shohei Ohtani as the only Japanese-born players in MLB history to hit 3 HR over their 1st 4 MLB games. pic.twitter.com/tP1rWS2TFx
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 12, 2022
It has been an awesome, awesome start for the newest Cubs hitter, who signed a five-year, $85 million deal over the offseason. And I can’t wait to see how high his star can fly.