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Key Stats: Ichiro Suzuki lost out on the batting title to Joe Mauer last season by 13 points. The combination of Ichiro and Carlos Pena vs. Mauer and Pena was a lot closer in the batting race. Mauer and Pena were .2997 while Ichiro and Pena hit .2991 combined. In other words Ichiro’s batting average is even more valuable when considering the 639 at-bats he took to get it.

Skeptics Say: For the first time in his career Ichiro began the year on the DL. That resulted in him playing in a career low 146 games and ultimately career lows in two of his three best categories – runs and steals. Both stats are concerns moving forward. Runs could be a problem again because as great as an offseason as Seattle had, the best power upgrade they made was Milton Bradley. Chone Figgins is not a run producer and neither is Casey Kotchman. Then there’s the steals. Ichiro will be 37 in October and was caught 9 times last season. Surprisingly it wasn’t the worst caught stealing season of his career (that came in 2002), but who will take the over on this guy beating his age in steals?

Peer Comparison: It’s hard to make a comparison of Ichiro to any player in the game because really he’s the kind of player I haven’t seen two of in just under 20 years of watching baseball. It’s also hard to make a statistical comparison. Ichiro should finish in the neighborhood of 30-35 steals this year. That would put him in the same territory as Matt Kemp who’s stock might never be higher than it is right now. Looking at the two of them category for category Ichiro should be the better player.

Ichiro 2001 – 2008: 111R 9 HR 59 RBI 39 SB .331 AVG
Kemp 2009 – 97R 26 HR 101 RBI 34 SB .297 AVG

Ichiro has been a run scorer his whole career if we interpret last season as an outlier rather than a lineup issue. Kemp will always drive in more runs if he continues to hit in the middle of the order. Kemp is clearly the better home run hitter, but Ichiro is clearly the better hitter for average. The last category is steals. If age isn’t an issue and Ichiro finds his legs similar to the way in which Derek Jeter did last season, he is the better option according to 8 seasons of data. That’s 3 categories to Ichiro and 2 to Kemp. While the difference in the two categories Kemp wins is much greater, Ichiro does blow Kemp out in average and could blow him out in one of the other two categories as past seasons indicate.

Lineup Outlook: As a baseball fan it’s hard not to like what the Mariners have done in the offseason. They are the favorites to win the NL West thanks to building around pitching and defense, but that doesn’t help Ichiro owners a lick. He hit .360 with runners on base last season and finished with a measly 46 RBI which was good for 85th among all outfielders. While Figgins isn’t a run producer, it will help Ichiro to have someone used to hitting at the top of the lineup as is mentioned in the Figgins post lineup outlook section.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #15 Outfielder; ESPN.com: #29 Overall; Yahoo: #8 Outfielder and #27 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #40 Overall; Couch Managers: #43 Overall; FB365: #12 Overall

Projection: A lot went wrong from a luck perspective last season for one of the most consistent players of the last decade. He was still ranked 38th in Yahoo at the end of the season.
100 R 10 HR 56 RBI 35 SB .335 AVG .845 OPS

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3 Responses to Ichiro Suzuki Player Projection No. 35

  1. Brozif says:

    How can you claim "Ichiro should be the better player than Kemp," but then rank Kemp better than him?

  2. Schruender says:

    I never said Ichiro is better than Kemp. I said that Kemp blows out Ichiro in two categories and Ichiro blows out Kemp in one. Since Kemp blows him out in two and stays so close in the others, Kemp is better.

    I did say that category for category Ichiro is better. By that I mean that Ichiro should be better in 3 out of 5 categories.

  3. Brozif says:

    I see. Kemp is my baby, I'm being protective.

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