2021 Stats (NPB) | G: 131 | BA: .319 | 2B: 26 | 3B: 0 | HR: 38 | RBI: 88 | OPS: 1.079
Seiya Suzuki was one of the best players in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. MLB Trade Rumors listed the Japanese Star as the 20th free agent in the 2021-2022 MLB Free Agent Class. Suzuki is only 27-years-old and put up some extremely impressive stats in the NPB.
Suzuki spent nine seasons with the Hiroshima Toya Carp baseball team, entering the NPB in 2013 as an 18-year-old. Since then, Suzuki has become a five-time NPB All-Star, four-time NPB Best Nine Award winner (given to the best right fielder in the league), and a three-time Gold Glove Award winner.
The most appealing traits for Suzuki are his power and controlled approach at the plate. This combination is rare and quite valuable. The Japanese slugger had 88 strikeouts to 87 walks in 530 plate appearances, which has been widely discussed around the baseball community. Pair those numbers with 64 extra-base hits in 131 games, and there is a lot to like offensively. At the plate, he reminds me of 2021 Kyle Schwarber, who showcased a ton of power but did not chase pitches outside of the zone or swing out of his shoes. Now his transition to the MLB may take some time, but his potential is extremely high. Suzuki is also known for his strong arm. Scouts believe his overall defense would be Major League caliber from day one. Suzuki is best suited for right field.
Is Seiya Suzuki related to Ichiro Suzuki?
No, Seiya Suzuki has no relation to Ichiro Suzuki, which is pretty remarkable given their similarities. They are both corner outfielders that wear #51 and broke into the big leagues by making a name for themselves in the NPB. Both players are listed at 5’11” and Seiya is only a few pounds heavier (182 lb.) than Ichiro (175 lb.), despite Seiya’s reputation as a power hitter.
Free Agency Decision
Seiya Suzuki was posted on November 22nd and will have a 30-day window to sign with a Major League team. In a normal offseason, that would mean Suzuki has until December 22nd at 5:00 PM. However, with an impending lockout, his signing period will be frozen and resume whenever the MLB lockout concludes.
Suzuki is the top international free agent on the market and has received plenty of interest around the league. Every organization has done their due diligence on a free agent of his caliber, and his market is rumored to be quite large. Suzuki’s agent, Joel Wolfe, said that there are between eight and 15 teams that have expressed interest in the 27-year-old outfielder, which is more than he anticipated. He also said it has been many years since he has seen such aggressive approaches out of Major League teams.
Wolfe believes that Suzuki is looking for a secure living environment and a team with a focus on winning. The first factor is somewhat ambiguous, though Wolfe did mention that Suzuki wants to visit any prospective team’s home ballpark, as well as their spring training facilities before signing. His second point is clearer, though many teams appear to be attempting to improve. Teams like the Rangers and Tigers may be considered as teams focused on winning, on top of the obvious contenders.
The Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, and Seattle Mariners are the teams rumored to be in the mix via MLB Trade Rumors, with many more allegedly in pursuit of the corner outfielder as well.