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Old 09-27-2010, 01:02 PM  
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Is Ichiro Suzuki a truly great hitter?

Depends on how u view hitting singles.....Nice read from JoPo



http://joeposnanski.si.com/2010/09/2...iro/?eref=sihp





You already know all about Ichiro’s hit exploits. He is:

• The first player in baseball history to get 200 hits in eight, nine and now 10 consecutive seasons.
• About to lead the league in hits for the seventh time — and in his other three big league seasons he finished second.
• The only player in baseball history to get 675 plate appearances and hit .300 10 years in a row (Lou Gehrig was close but one year he fell three plate appearances short).

Let’s put it this way: Ichiro came to America when he was 27 years old. At that point, he had 1,278 hits in Japan. You cannot count those hits in the major leagues, of course, but I’d say if anything, 1,278 hits is probably FEWER than he would have had if he had started his career here. Anyway, for fun, let’s give him those 1,278 hits.

He doesn’t turn 37 until October, so that means that through his age 36 season, he has had 3,510 professional baseball hits. Here’s how that would rank in baseball history.

Hits through age 36:
1. Ichiro, 3,510
2. Ty Cobb, 3,453
3. Hank Aaron, 3,110
4. Robin Young, 3,025
5. Pete Rose, 2,966*

*Put it this way: When I talked to Pete for The Machine, he flat told me: “Hey, tell Ichiro he can even count his hits in Japan. I don’t care. He ain’t getting to 4,000 hits.” Yep, Pete was a big man then. But Ichiro has had something like 700 or 800 hits since then, and I now see interviews with Pete singing a different tune about how — COME ON! Japan is Triple A baseball! You can’t count those hits! You’ve got to be KIDDING ME! What, do you want to count my hits in MACON?


That little change sums up Pete Rose the man just about as well as anything else.

So, you know what kind of hit machine Ichiro has been. Well, you should also know that 81% — EIGHTY ONE PERCENT of his hits — have been singles. If that sounds high, well, yeah, it’s historically high. We’ll get to that in a minute. Ichiro is a singles man. He has four of the Top 10 singles seasons in baseball history, and half of those Top 10 seasons were in the 19th century.

If you start in 1901, the Top 5 singles seasons look like this:

1. Ichiro, 225 (2004)
2. Ichiro, 206 (2007)
3. Lloyd Waner, 198 (1927)
4. Ichiro, 192 (2001)
5. Wade Boggs, 187 (1985)

He has led the league in singles every single season he has been in the big leagues. Every single year. And not only has he led the league, he has DESTROYED the league.

2001: Led league by 53 singles (Shannon Stewart runner-up)
2002: Led league by 18 singles (Derek Jeter)
2003: Led league by 14 singles (Michael Young)
2004: Led league by 73 singles (Young)
2005: Led league by 5 singles (Jeter)
2006: Led league by 28 singles (Jeter)
2007: Led league by 48 singles (Young)
2008: Led league by 36 singles (Orlando Cabrera)
2009: Led league by 13 singles (Jeter)
2010: Leads league by 18 singles (Juan Pierre)

He is simply untouchable as a literal-sense “hitter.” He is the Nolan Ryan of hits. He is the Nolan Ryan of singles. Like with Ryan, you cannot help but feel awe watching the man perform. He’s absolutely amazing.

But, wait. Amazing is one thing. How GOOD an offensive player is Ichiro? And this takes us into more complicated territory. Because, like Ryan, it seems that Ichiro does big things a lot better than he does little things. Ichiro is probably the best at hitting ‘em where they ain’t since the speaker of that quote, Wee Willie Keeler. But that’s not all there is to being a great offensive player, is it?

No. It’s not. Yes, Ichiro has 200 hits every single season — he’s leading the lead for the seventh time — but do you know how many times he has led the league in times on base?

Once. That was 2004.

In fact, except for 2004, he has never finished second or third in times on base, either. His 260 hits in a season is a record, of course, but his career-high 315 times on base actually ranks in a tie for 58th all-time, just one ahead of Chuck Knoblauch’s 1996 season and one behind Mo Vaughn’s 1996 season.

And, more, that’s the ONLY time that Ichiro has gotten on base 300 times in a season. His next-best was 290 times on base in 2007 — and that ranks in a tie for 257th all-time (tied with, among others, Bobby Abreu in 2006, Tony Phillips in 1996 and Bernie Williams in 2002 — and those were not the career-high seasons for any of the three).

The big reason for the gap is that Ichiro doesn’t walk. He just doesn’t. He has led the league in hitting twice and finished second twice more. But he has never led the league in on-base percentage, only once finished in the Top 5, and three times finished in the Top 10.

His .376 on-base percentage is certainly good, but he’s hitting .331 — it’s almost all batting average. Put it this way; There are 25 players in baseball history with 3,000 or more plate appearances and a batting average of higher than .325. Twenty five super-high average players. Ichiro Suzuki has the lowest on-base percentage of any of them.

He is walking one time in 16 plate appearances. That’s just an extremely low number, especially for a good hitter.

So he doesn’t walk. That means that while his hitting is historically great, his on-base percentage is not. Among players with 3,000 or more plate appearances, his on-base percentage is tied for 131st.

OK, well, what about those hits? Well, as I mentioned, 81% of his hits are singles. Even among those relatively light-hitting players, that’s really high.

Here is the singles percentage for some players you might consider light-hitting greats:

• Ichiro, 81%
• Tony Gwynn, 76%
• Pete Rose, 76%
• George Sisler, 75%
• Wade Boggs, 75%
• Ty Cobb, 73%

Ichiro’s singles percentage is higher than Ozzie Smith’s. It’s higher than Jason Kendall’s (yes, it is). It’s higher than that of Luis Aparicio, Bert Campaneris, Bill Buckner and Kenny Lofton. It’s not the all-time mark — other very good hitters such as Richie Ashburn, Stuffy McInnis and Lloyd Waner have higher singles percentages. But in fact, those are probably the ONLY three good hitters who have higher singles percentages — maybe Maury Wills, depending on how good a hitter you think he was.

So, what’s wrong with a single? Nothing. But it ain’t a double. Ichiro’s .430 slugging percentage is certainly low for a .331 hitter, especially in today’s big-hitting era. Jeff Cirillo slugged .430. Hal Morris slugged .433.

So, mainly what Ichiro gives you are lots of singles — line drives, hard grounders up the middle, bloops, bleeders through the infield, high-choppers. Are these aesthetically pleasing? Absolutely. Are these valuable? You bet. Are these more valuable than walks? Yes, of course, well, somewhat. But do a barrage of singles without many walks put Ichiro in the luxury line of hitters with Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera or Josh Hamilton or Robinson Cano or those sorts of guys?

I’d have to say no.

And the numbers would say no even more forcefully. This year, Ichiro does not rank in the Top 50 in batting runs according to Fangraphs.

In 2009, Ichiro ranked 36th.
In 2008, he did not rank in the Top 50.
In 2007, he ranked 31st.
In 2006, he did not rank in the Top 50.
In 2005, he did not rank in the Top 50.
In 2004, he ranked 20th.

And so on. His career OPS+ is 117, which ties him for 367th all-time and ranks lower than, among others, Mickey Tettleton, who hit 90 points lower.

I hear from people in and out of baseball all the time that Ichiro could be a different kind of hitter if he wanted. He could take some points of the average and hit with more power. He could muscle up and hit 25 homers a year. He could attack pitchers differently and draw 100 walks a season. As I said at the top, I have no idea if this is true.

What I do think is that Ichiro Suzuki is one of most dazzling and unforgettable hitters I’ve ever seen. I get a jolt every time I see him step to the plate. And of course, here we’re only talking about his hitting — he’s an amazing base stealer and base runner; he’s an awesome outfielder with a terrific arm. I love watching Ichiro Suzuki play baseball. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, no doubt in my mind.

Still, as we try to look honestly at his career, we are left with two questions and two seemingly conflicting answers:

1. Is Ichiro Suzuki one of the greatest hitters in baseball history? Absolutely.

2. Is Ichiro Suzuki one of the greatest offensive forces in baseball history? No, probably not.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:09 PM   #2
SPATCH SPATCH is offline
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Higher % of singles than Jason Kendall??? GTFO
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:10 PM   #3
Mr. Flopnuts Mr. Flopnuts is offline
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Well he's no Alex Gordan. That's for sure.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:10 PM   #4
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Is there a way to tell what % of the time he scores compared to the league average after getting on base?

Maybe what % of the time he scores when on base adjusted to if you put him in an average lineup?

I really doubt there will be anything for that 2nd one.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:14 PM   #5
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He's a first ballot HOF player.
Jeez Louise...
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:15 PM   #6
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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He's a slap hitter on a team that does a horrible job scoring runs and still he hasn't adjusted his approach despite being "supposedly" able to constantly light it up during BP.

He's a perfectly fine hitter, but he's not able to hit for any power. He's basically the inverse of Adam Dunn. Would you consider Adam Dunn a "great hitter"?

Now, I think Ichiro is a better player than Dunn because of his tremendous defense, base stealing, and his throwing arm, but as hitters, they are both flawed, albeit in different ways.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:17 PM   #7
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This is a nice job. Good analysis. But he ignores the stolen bases.

Tell me how his total bases looks. There's no difference between a double and a single and a stolen base.

But yes, there' no doubt that Ichiro doesn't compare to a Ruth or Williams or Gehrig in terms of offensive impact. Don't need a ton of statistical analysis to figure that out.

The top ten Major League Baseball players in lifetime OPS, with at least 3,000 plate appearances through 2009

(active players in bold)
  1. Babe Ruth, 1.1638
  2. Ted Williams, 1.1155
  3. Lou Gehrig, 1.0798
  4. Barry Bonds, 1.0512 (note that even his ridiculous 'roided up years couldn't put him ahead of the top 3, because, you know, he didn't start using the 'roids until later in his career)
  5. Albert Pujols, 1.051
  6. Jimmie Foxx, 1.0376
  7. Hank Greenberg, 1.0169
  8. Rogers Hornsby, 1.0103
  9. Manny Ramírez, 1.0019
  10. Todd Helton, 0.9938
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:18 PM   #8
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He doesn't walk (or strikeout) because he's always putting the ball in play. Not a bad thing.

He's a four tool player and one of the best of those there's ever been.

Nobody doubts he's a great hitter, he might be the best pure hitter since Rod Carew. He would likely hit leadoff for any team in history. Why does it need to be more than that?
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:22 PM   #9
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
This is a nice job. Good analysis. But he ignores the stolen bases.

Tell me how his total bases looks. There's no difference between a double and a single and a stolen base.

But yes, there' no doubt that Ichiro doesn't compare to a Ruth or Williams or Gehrig in terms of offensive impact. Don't need a ton of statistical analysis to figure that out.

The top ten Major League Baseball players in lifetime OPS, with at least 3,000 plate appearances through 2009

(active players in bold)
  1. Babe Ruth, 1.1638
  2. Ted Williams, 1.1155
  3. Lou Gehrig, 1.0798
  4. Barry Bonds, 1.0512 (note that even his ridiculous 'roided up years couldn't put him ahead of the top 3, because, you know, he didn't start using the 'roids until later in his career)
  5. Albert Pujols, 1.051
  6. Jimmie Foxx, 1.0376
  7. Hank Greenberg, 1.0169
  8. Rogers Hornsby, 1.0103
  9. Manny Ramírez, 1.0019
  10. Todd Helton, 0.9938
And the top three really didn't play against blacks, save for the ass end of Williams' career.

Oh, and if you have a guy on in front of you, a double is worth a hell of a lot more than a single and a steal, because the guy on first in this case has a much better chance to score from 1st on a double, and will always score from second.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:24 PM   #10
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Nobody doubts he's a great hitter, he might be the best pure hitter since Rod Carew.
Thats exactly who i would compare him to as a hitter.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:27 PM   #11
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And the top three really didn't play against blacks, save for the ass end of Williams' career.
Not to take too much away from this, but there aren't a whole lot of black pitchers today, and there never really have been.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:29 PM   #12
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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Not to take too much away from this, but there aren't a whole lot of black pitchers today, and there never really have been.
Depends what you mean.

There are fewer African Americans playing than at any time in about 50 years. There are far more Latin players of African origin than ever.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins View Post
And the top three really didn't play against blacks, save for the ass end of Williams' career.
Errrummm, ok. But of all the differences in the game between the color barrier being broken, etc. that's kind of an odd one to pick.

There are many other things that changed also, and were likely more significant impacts on the hitters across the different eras, including not least the methods of utilization for relief pitchers and the change in the height of the mound.

I do agree, of course, that the exclusion of minorities somewhat lowered the overall average quality of pitching faced by hitters in the prior to the 50s. But to point to that one factor as opposed to mentioning some others, that's where you lose me.

Quote:
Oh, and if you have a guy on in front of you, a double is worth a hell of a lot more than a single and a steal, because the guy on first in this case has a much better chance to score from 1st on a double, and will always score from second.
Yes. No argument. But that is going to come out by looking at RBIs as well as anything else, really. Though obviously one's position in the batting order is determined in large part by what type of hitter one is.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:32 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
Errrummm, ok. But of all the differences in the game between the color barrier being broken, etc. that's kind of an odd one to pick.

There are many other things that changed also, and were likely more significant impacts on the hitters across the different eras, including not least the methods of utilization for relief pitchers and the change in the height of the mound.

I do agree, of course, that the exclusion of minorities somewhat lowered the overall average quality of pitching faced by hitters in the prior to the 50s. But to point to that one factor as opposed to mentioning some others, that's where you lose me.



Yes. No argument. But that is going to come out by looking at RBIs as well as anything else, really. Though obviously one's position in the batting order is determined in large part by what type of hitter one is.
I was merely pointing out that all players on that list have "warts" that one could dissect, very similar to Bonds (although many not as egregious).
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:32 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
Tell me how his total bases looks. There's no difference between a double and a single and a stolen base.
A runner doesn't score from first on a walk, so there is a difference. It may not be huge, but it's a difference.
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