After the lockout, we will find out which team secures his services.
The 27-year-old outfielder has quite a market, as at least half a dozen organizations have expressed interest.
After all, he hit .317/.433/.636 with 38 home runs and a 1.069 OPS in 2021.
He has had a fruitful career in Japan, with a .309/.402/.541 line and a .943 OPS.
But it’s time to make the jump.
Here are three reasons why his game should translate well to the demands of today’s MLB.
Giants' Farhan Zaidi on Seiya Suzuki: "He's a really good player. We've scouted him like a lot of teams have. We'll see what happens. We'll be in that OF market & adding another right-handed bat, particularly one that hits for power w/good at-bat quality, kind of fits our team."
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) November 11, 2021
3. He Is Versatile
MLB teams value versatility these days.
They prefer a guy who can hold his own at two or more positions around the diamond, giving the manager some added flexibility at the time of building the lineup.
Suzuki fits the bill.
Not only is he an incredible offensive machine, but he can also play several positions on the field.
He has been an outfielder for most of his career, more specifically, a right fielder.
However, he has experience at third base, shortstop, first base, center field, and left field during his playing career in Japan.
It’s not easy to find defensive metrics in Japan that can help us understand if he was actually good at all those positions, but the fact his managers trusted him enough to play there occasionally tells us something.
The team that signs Suzuki in MLB will likely assign him a corner outfield role, and it may be the best for all parties involved.
But it’s nice to know he can play all around the diamond in case of emergency.
2. He Can Hit All Kinds Of Pitches
One of the worrisome things about bringing in Japanese or Korean players to the bigs is their ability to hit fastballs.
In those leagues, breaking pitches are the standard, and while MLB has been trending that way for a couple of years, it’s still a fastball league.
That’s why some Asian players struggle with fastball velocity in MLB, especially up in the zone.
But reports indicate that Suzuki is different.
He is said to be patient with breaking stuff, waiting for them to develop.
He also, according to specialists, drives fastballs and pulls most of his home runs.
Some scouting on Seiya Suzuki:
Most of his power is to LF/CF.
Sits back to wait on breaking pitches. Drives fastballs.
Hands move quick, fluid through the zone.
Walks: Drew 88 last year. .433 OBP.
Career high 38 HR. Normally averages 26-30.
Has Fenway Park written all over him. pic.twitter.com/ZY6l7Cm77Q
— Doug Rush (@TheDougRush) December 6, 2021
His quick hands allow him to catch up to different types of fastballs thrown at different parts of the strike zone.
Of course, fastballs are harder and with more spin in the United States, and breaking pitches are better, generally.
In other words, Suzuki will have to apply his raw tools and have a brief adjustment period as he gets to know MLB pitchers’ stuff first-hand.
But he has the resources to make it happen and be successful.
1. He Is Extremely Patient And Disciplined
One of the things that makes or breaks careers in MLB is patience, pitch recognition, and plate discipline.
If his career in Japan is any indication, Suzuki has them all.
He worked 88 walks last year, in just 134 games.
That earned him an extremely high .433 OBP, which would make him a star in the United States.
Over his nine-year career in Japan’s professional baseball league, Suzuki has showed excellent plate discipline numbers.
He has 524 walks and 631 strikeouts, a very nice ratio.
He appears to have the eye to take bad pitches and pounce on good ones, which is the foundation of a great hitter.