The Japanese import is playing in the United States for the first time in his career after nine successful seasons in Japan, but is showing that he, unlikely many of his countrymen, doesn’t need an adjustment period to succeed.
He is fresh off winning the National League Player of the Week award, and Cubs fans already love him.
He represents the hope for a quick return to contention for a franchise that had grown accustomed to being in the playoffs in the last few years, except last season.
His incredible start has him on pace to become the best-performing player over a single season, according to Bleacher Nation.
“Seiya Suzuki is on pace to finish the season worth 16.0 WAR, breaking Babe Ruth’s record (15.0), set in 1923,” they tweeted.
Seiya Suzuki is on pace to finish the season worth 16.0 WAR, breaking Babe Ruth's record (15.0), set in 1923.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) April 19, 2022
Of course, that was a joke… was it, though?
A Ruthian Performance
The 27-year-old slugger is hitting .429/.564/.929 with an incredible 1.493 OPS in the season’s first couple of weeks.
He has 12 hits, four of which have left the yard.
When he makes contact, it’s usually loud, and it often yields excellent results.
He has nine runs scored and 11 RBI.
However, he has also been a positive contributor when he doesn’t make contact.
Suzuki has a very good plate discipline profile that includes nine walks and nine strikeouts.
He has 0.9 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) according to Baseball Reference, and 1.0 according to FanGraphs.
Of course, to surpass Ruth, he would need to keep up his torrid hitting pace for the entire season, something that seems impossible.
But somewhere in the 5.0 – 6.0 range could be feasible, and that would be a huge success for him and the Cubs.