Self-described “zero points” this year…Lost out on starting job to Suzuki after five games, went 1-for-3 with home run vs. Mets.

Classmate Shohei “Batter” Ohtani 메이저사이트(29-LA Angels), who turned pro, is batting .325, leading the team in home runs and second in RBIs. Yoshida Masataka (30-Boston Red Sox), a year his senior, has settled into his first year in the majors and is also hitting .300. The pair joined the team after leading Japan to the World Baseball Classic (WBC) title and have continued their strong play.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki (29). Struggling in his second year in the majors. Lately, he’s lost the battle for the starting job. He’s been missing more and more games from the starting lineup.

He hasn’t been in the starting lineup for four games in a row, starting on the 6th of this month against the Atlanta Braves. Three of those games were from the bench. He pinch-hit in the eighth inning against the New York Mets on the 8th and struck out.

In 91 games prior to the Mets game on 9 September, he batted .338 (84-for-94) with nine home runs, 37 RBIs and a .715 OPS. Expectations were high for his second year in the majors, but he took a step back.

Last season, he hit just 2-for-6 in 111 games (104-for-397) with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs. He was considered a smooth transition from his first year.

Suzuki returns for the first half of 2023 to harsh reviews. In an interview with Japan’s OTT-based Abema TV, he said he would rate his second year a “zero”.

He talked about the difficulty of hitting major league pitchers. He said that pitchers are aggressive with pitches that are slightly in and out of the strike zone. He explained that he practices hitting pitches that are one or two pitches wider than the strike zone.

Since joining the Hiroshima Carp in 2013, Suzuki has developed into one of the team’s leading hitters. In 2021, the year before he reached the major leagues, he batted .301 (138-for-435) with 38 home runs and 88 RBIs. Since 2016, he has hit triple digits in six straight years and hit 176 home runs.

He played in the 2017 WBC, the 2019 Premier12 and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Had he not chosen to pursue the major league challenge, another path would have opened up. He would have signed a huge contract as a free agent and continued his career with recognition.

Suzuki says, “I didn’t want to go through the motions. If I stayed in Japan, I could have maintained my performance, but it wouldn’t have been fun,” Suzuki said.

AP Yonhap
Suzuki signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Cubs before the 2022 season.

Suzuki started in the No. 6 spot in right field against the Mets on Tuesday. In his first start in five games, he had three hits, including a home run, and one RBI. He hit a triple to right field in the second inning, an RBI single to left in the fourth and a two-run homer in the ninth.

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