Seiya Suzuki is on FIRE!

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Seiya Suzuki is on FIRE!

Chicago Cubs

Oh, no! Seiya Suzuki strained his oblique, he’ll be out for MONTHS!

Psyche! He missed only the first two weeks of the season and only 11 total games.

Oh, no! Suzukis is off to an extremely slow start. The second-half of 2022 was an aberration and he actually stinks!”

Nah! He just needed a totally reasonable adjustment and ramp-up period after missing spring training and, you know, returning from a significant injury at Wolverine-like speeds.

There were two fairly big opportunities to be seriously concerned about Seiya Suzuki this year, but each time he got us sweating, he came back stronger and sooner than we could’ve reasonably hoped. And now, for the season, Suzuki is slashing an All-Star-caliber .283/.370/.496 (135 wRC+) with six home runs, a career-high 11.6% walk rate, and a totally manageable (given the power) 25.3% strikeout rate.

He even hit his first Wrigley Field home run of the season last night.

In case you haven’t been paying attention (or maybe you’ve just been distracted by Christopher Morel’s legitimate absurdity … understandable), Suzuki is on FIRE.

Over the last two weeks (48 plate appearances), Suzuki has hit five home runs while slashing .350/.438/.825 (227 wRC+). With his defense and base running factored in, that’s earned him 0.9 WAR in just those two weeks alone, which is tied for the sixth most in MLB over that stretch. And while the strikeout rate during that stretch is a bit elevated (29.2%), so is his walk rate (14.6%). And when you’re making that much contact, getting on base that often, while enjoying a .475 ISO (lol …), the strikeouts are simply not an issue.

And let me tell you something more: Suzuki is absolutely not getting lucky during this recent hot streak. He’s just smacking the HELL out of the baseball.

Here are his numbers during this stretch with the league average in parantheses.

  • 93.8 MPH average EV (89 MPH)
  • 22.2 barrel% (8.2%)
  • 59.3 hard% (39.4%)
  • 13.4 degree launch angle (12.6 degrees)

He’s also swinging at just 14.3% of pitches out of the zone during this stretch, which is HALF the league average (28.3%). That helps account for the increased walk rate and the stronger contact (offer and connect on fewer balls out of the zone and the quality of contact you do make is going to go up!).

There’s still a lot of season ahead of us, but right now, Suzuki is hitting the crap out of the baseball and remains an integral part of this team’s potential. Oh, and don’t forget, he’s only 28-years-old and under contract for three seasons AFTER this one. So even if you don’t care about his production right now while the team is underperforming, a good Seiya Suzuki is critical to the next few years of this franchise.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami