You have undoubtedly noticed, in addition to all the productivity, that Seiya Suzuki is taking a LOT of walks. Pitchers have not been challenging him much in the zone, and since Suzuki is impressively disciplined up there, he’s already taken 13 walks on the season. The only guy in baseball who has taken more walks is Mr. Walk, himself, Juan Soto.
By the rate, though, Suzuki is in a class all his own: his 28.3% walk rate is nearly THREE percentage points higher than the next guy (Jesse Winker), and is nearly SIX percentage points higher than Soto.
Like I said, you’ve noticed all the walks. It’s a lot.
But what you may not have noticed – or may not have consciously processed as you saw it – is that Suzuki does something after the walk that you don’t see in MLB. He goes backwards around the catcher and the umpire so that he can walk behind them on his way to first base:
“It’s kind of disrespectful to walk in front of someone."
Seiya Suzuki is too nice.
— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) April 21, 2022
The article, of course, is a little tongue-in-cheek about Suzuki being TOO nice. But noting his respectfulness is definitely interesting: “It’s kind of disrespectful to walk in front of someone,” the former Japanese batting champ said through his team interpreter, Toy Matsushita. “Especially if it’s someone older than you. It’s Japanese culture. It’s not a good thing to do.”
Apparently it isn’t something every player in Japan does, but Suzuki learned it growing up and it has stuck with him. Hey, whatever you want to do out there is working, Seiya. So stick to it!