Seiya Suzuki (Cubs) got off to a good start by being selected as the weekly MVP for the second week of the opening and winning the National League Monthly Best Rookie of the Year in April. However, the momentum immediately after the opening did not last long, and although he recorded a batting average of .414 and 4 home runs in the first 11 games, he suffered from a batting average of .157 and 0 home runs in the following 13 games. “This league is an adjustment league. He’s also adapting to his opponent pitcher,” said David Ross. Suzuki himself said, “The season is long. He wants to continue what he is doing now.”
Suzuki has participated in 24 games so far this season and has a batting average of .250, 4 home runs, 15 RBIs, on-base percentage of .365, slugging percentage of .475, and OPS.840. He had a batting average of .250, which was over 40% right after the opening, but OPS.840 is not a bad number. This season is a “low batting average” season, and Suzuki’s performance is well above the major average (batting average .232, on-base percentage .306, slugging percentage .370, OPS.676).
Comparing the results of his first 11 games with the results of the 13 games after that, it can be seen that the ratio of strikeouts and walks has deteriorated significantly, and fastballs can no longer be hit. In addition, the rate of missed swings has increased, and the number of cases in which the ball is touched outside the strike zone is increasing. Looking at the pitching ratio of the opponent pitcher, the number of curves, change-ups, and cutters has increased in the last two weeks, and there are many cases where you can attack with a higher fastball.
However, Suzuki says that there is not much difference (immediately after the opening and recently) about how to attack the pitcher. Director Ross has not denied Suzuki’s remarks, and seems to think that the cause of the poor hitting is Suzuki’s own timing rather than the pitcher’s attack. Suzuki has made various tweaks to the hitting form to adapt to Major League baseball pitchers, and Greg Brown hitting coach said, “I think he has more numbers to leave at the end of the season.” Don’t worry about it, he trusts Suzuki’s ability.
The world of Major League Baseball is a repetition of adjustments. The opponent pitcher began to adjust against Suzuki who showed a smashing blow immediately after the opening, and now it is Suzuki’s turn to adjust to it. Suzuki is facing the first challenge, but if he can overcome it, he should be able to see the activity just after the opening again.