Underrated

This season has really shed some light on the “real hitters” with players like Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer being thrust into the spotlight for all to see. Pujols is a legitimate complete hitter while Mauer is well on his way to solidifying himself as one.

While players like Pujols and Mauer steal the spotlight there is a player who is quietly one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball. We all know who it is, we just don’t necessarily associate him with greatness. He is an All-Star every year but just doesn’t get the credit he really, truly deserves. That player is Ichiro Suzuki.

IchiroThis year Ichiro is hitting .358. No typo, it’s .358. Joe Mauer may be leading the majors in BA but he is also having a career year. Ichiro does this every single year. Ichiro’s lifetime average is .332. That’s after he played 8 seasons in Japan, where he hit .353 with 1,278 hits. After 8 years of excellence in Japan he packed his bags and landed in Seattle. He has been the backbone of the franchise ever since but has been overshadowed by players like Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez.

Ichiro doesn’t bring the home run often, but true students of the game know that despite his small frame he has power. It just isn’t his game. He would much rather slap a single or bunt his way on and then steal second base. By the way he has 21 stolen bases so far this year. He doesn’t walk often but he doesn’t strike out often either. In his 391 at bats this season he has struck out just 35 times. His career high in strikeouts came in 2007 when he struck out 77 times. He is obnoxiously consistent while being one of the most durable players in the game. Since coming to the United States he has played in no fewer than 157 games.

IchiroIchiro does it all. Since joining MLB he has been an All-Star every year while earning Rookie of the Year honors in 2001. Not only did he win the ROY in 2001, he won the MVP for the American League while hitting .350 with 56 stolen bases. He has taken home a Gold Glove every year and is a 2-time Silver Slugger and 2-time AL batting champ.

When looking at his short time in MLB his statistics still warrant him the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. When combining his statistics with the his time in Japan he is one of the greatest hitters the game has ever scene. If you were to combine his statistics from both careers he would have 3,223 hits, 429 doubles, 1,023 RBI, 535 stolen bases and a .343 batting average.

There is no doubt that Ichiro is one of the best players in baseball. He is a household name but just does not receive the credit he deserves. He combines incredible bat control with outstanding defense and speed. Pujols, Rodriguez, and Mauer may have the power, but Ichiro has the complete game.

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10 comments

  1. raysfanboy

    Nice profile. I can’t believe that this little guy from Japan might just be a Hall of Famers. I did not see that coming when he signed with Seattle of all places. He is single-handedly responsible for the influx of Asian born players who have helped to make our game better. Without him, I wouldn’t have Akinori Iwamura to root for and the BoSox would be without Daisuke Matsusaka to yell at. Ichiro is something special.
    http://raysfanboy.mlblogs.com/

  2. chisoxchatter

    Thanks for the comment.

    And I completely agree with Ichiro. I think people take him for granted since he does it every year (or maybe there’s some truth to the whole west coast/east coast thing). I remember some people thought he’d be on the decline when his name was brought up in trade rumors a few years ago, HA!

    http://chisoxchatter.mlblogs.com

  3. juliasrants

    The Red Sox have had the “pleasure” of seeing just how good Ichiro is several times this season. He doesn’t get the attention that he deserves and would probably get if he played for a higher profile team.

    Julia
    http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

  4. matttan7

    Ichiro is under rated? I agree on that one, he’s had one of the most productive hitters in the last few years and that’s been under the radar by the headlines of home run hitters. This is quite interesting.

    Matthew T.
    http://matt7.mlblogs.com/

  5. popejonash

    I agree with you, but it is still strange to see just why he is overlooked. How can people ignore the kind of numbers he is putting up? Is it purely because he’s not a home run type guy?I don’t know the answer. Maybe people just simply expected him to tail off into the distance after bursting onto the scene so dramatically in 2001. Or maybe it’s that a corner outfielder with no power, as durable and reliable as he is, just isn’t flashy enough for fans to care about outside of Seattle. Fans take his skills for granted – if he was playing in New York instead of Hideki Matsui, you can bet that every fan in the country would know how great he is.Ashhttps://ashleymarshall.mlblogs.com

  6. PWHjort

    Hey, Ben. Thanks for linking to me. I think Ichiro will most certainly go in the HOF. He already passes two of Bill James’ HOF predictive tests (Black Ink and HOF Monitor, not close on either one). He’s really close on Grey Ink (I won’t be surprised if he passes it within 2 seasons) and HOF Standards is largely a function of playing time and I have no doubt he’ll pass that too. Add that on top of his accomplishments in Japan (I know the voters aren’t supposed to consider that, but there’s no way they’ll completely ignore it) and he’s a sure-fire first ballot HOFer.

  7. southernbelle

    Hey! I’m Virginia and I’m a crazy Yankee fan. I’ve been so since my birth in 1993. Nice Blog! It’s the first time I’ve seen it. Ichiro really is something else. He really doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. I love that picture of him! I was just wondering, being a “student of the game of baseball” if you would be interested in my blog. It’s a Yankee blog. It’s relatively new and I want as many people as I can to get some enjoyment from it. If you can check it out, that would be great! Thanks fellow fan! -from Virginia
    http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com

  8. santosis

    I’ll agree with Julia that, if he played in a larger market, he would get much more attention. His consistency as a lead-off hitter is amazing. If there is a weakness to his game, it is plate discipline. His career OBP. is only .378, despite that high BA. Still, his defense and speed are likely to land him in the Hall. The fact that he’s already lead the league in hits 5 seasons and even has a shot at 3000 hits in such a short MLB career positions him as a first ballot HoFer.

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