Seiya Suzuki Lands with Cubs

The Cubs are expecting big things from one of NPB's best players.

Seiya Suzuki will make his MLB debut with the Cubs next season after signing a five-year, $85 million dollar contract on Wednesday. The announcement brings an end to months of speculation about where the 27-year-old outfielder would land.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic had the initial report:

Suzuki has spent his entire playing career to this point with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball, the highest level of baseball in Japan. The hype around Suzuki began to build as soon as he was posted by Hiroshima. It only takes a glance at his stats to see why.

In nine seasons in the NPB, Suzuki slashed .315/.414/.570 with 182 HRs. He ended last season with a line of .317/.433/.639 and 38 HR in 132 games. Per this deep dive from Tom Mussa of Prospects Live, he’s also known for his discipline at the plate. He walks as often as he strikes out.

In addition to bringing a potent contact-power combo with his hitting, Suzuki is also a plus player defensively. He boasts multiple Gold Gloves and a cannon of an arm:

While several other NPB transplants such as Yoshi Tsutsugo of the Pirates and Shogo Akiyama of the Reds have struggled to make an impact in the MLB, there’s good reason to believe Suzuki possesses the tools he needs to succeed.

In January, CBS Sports shared an analysis of ball-tracking data from Suzuki’s time in the NPB that yielded comparisons to the likes of Bryce Harper, Pete Alonso, Austin Riley, and Joc Pederson. The analysis stated, “Suzuki’s similar hitters had a median OPS+ of 109 last season, suggesting he’s in the company of mostly above-average bats.”

The Cubs are fully bought into the belief that Suzuki will make a huge transition. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, they’ve just finalized the largest contract ever for a Japanese position player coming to MLB:

Suzuki joins a Cubs team looking to rebound after it finished 71-91 and fourth in the NL Central last year. His signing, along with agreements with other veteran free agents like Marcus Stroman, Andrelton Simmons, David Robertson, and Chris Martin, indicates a laudable desire to compete in the short term while building a foundation for long-term success as well.

With Suzuki set to man the outfield and top prospects like Brennen Davis, Brailyn Marquez, and Miguel Amaya in the pipeline, Cubs fans should be very excited about 2022 and beyond.

 

Featured image: photo from from Wikimedia Commons, adapted by Shawn Palmer (@PalmerDesigns_ on Twitter)

Colin Fong

Colin lived near Cooperstown and collected signatures from Hall of Famers for his Dad's collection every summer as a kid. He thought it was super boring at the time, but thinks it's incredibly cool now. He's an A's fan and loves writing about the beautiful, absurd, infuriating, and inspiring world of baseball.

2 responses to “Seiya Suzuki Lands with Cubs”

  1. Marc says:

    How much of a 100$ FAAB would you spend on Suzuki for a 12 man league? My OF could use some help.

    • Colin Fong says:

      I’d be willing to put down a good chunk. I’m optimistic his hitting will translate well to the MLB and he’ll be good for at least 20 HRs and a solid average/OBP. He hasn’t run a ton — 9 SB and 13 CS last year, but he’s had as many as 25 SB in 2019 and there’s no doubt he has good speed, so it will be interesting to see how the Cubs handle him in that sense. The Cubs lineup benefits from playing the Pirates and Reds a lot, so that helps with RBI and runs.

      Good luck, I hope you can get him!

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