Friday, March 18, 2016

Former Yankees Update: Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro Suzuki spent parts of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons with the New York Yankees before leaving for warmer climates down in Miami for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The Yankees signed Ichiro with the intent of having him chase down 3,000 hits in the United States while with the club. While that initial notion did not work out in New York the Marlins may see that exact plan come to fruition down in Miami if the aging Japanese-born star can grab just 65 more hits.

Ichiro, now 42-years old, is playing behind a talent group of core members in Miami’s outfield so the question of whether he will get enough at bats to grab 65 more hits is the question. If Miami plans on contending in 2016, and if you judge their offseason by their intentions then they do plan on contending, how can you sit one of Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton or Christian Yelich often enough to get Ichiro the hits? If Ichiro were a few years younger, sure, but these days Ichiro just isn’t the same player he used to be as father time has caught up with him.

Ichiro is still fast and extremely durable, he played in 153 games last season and has played in at least 143 games in each of the past 15 seasons, but his batting average continues to drop the older he gets. Ichiro batted a career-low .229 last season which is a sudden drop off from his career average of .314. Ichiro has not hit .300 since the 2010 season. Can Ichiro do it?

Ichiro had 398 at bats last season and if he bats in the low .200’s again he may need another 300 or more to reach the 3,000 hit plateau. No one can predict what will happen this season. Injuries cannot be predicted and neither can effectiveness or playing time but if Ichiro gets the at bats you have to think that milestone staring him down in the face will be motivation enough to get there. I have faith in him and so should you. And if not, who is to say 2017 isn’t another year?

We’re rooting for you Ichiro. Get there!

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)