According to a recent interview with Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, Japanese star, Seiya Suzuki, mentioned that he is still intent on making his transition from Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan to Major League Baseball, once a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed.
Ever since the news came that Suzuki would be posted by his Japanese team, several MLB teams have expressed interest in the 27-year-old Japanese star. Even American League West rivals, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, have publicly stated that they are high on Suzuki and have met with him.
Neither the Houston Astros nor Seiya Suzuki have shown any public interest in each other.
Considering the Astros certainly needing a productive-veteran bat, could a union between Suzuki and the Astros work?
Since we all have nothing better to do while MLB owners and MLBPA squabble over money, rules and semantics, let’s take a look at the Suzuki as a player, the Astros big league needs and the how these two might be able to fit together.
If you aren’t an avid follower of Nippon Professional Baseball, Suzuki is a 27-year-old outfielder, playing for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. You might also remember him from the 2020 (played in 2021) Olympic Games, where Japan won gold in baseball over the United States.
Beyond that, he has put quite the career together throughout his career. In his nine seasons in NPB, Suzuki is slashing .315/.415./.571 with 182 home runs through 901 games. Just this last 2021 season, Suzuki hit a career-high 38 home runs and a 1.075 OPS, with a near 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 131 games.
As with any player coming from an international organization, there is concern that the success might not translate. There are plenty of cases for and against the argument.
However, It is clear from watching Suzuki that he has good contact, patience at the plate, defensive prowess, a lot of power and tools that should have no problem translating into MLB production. Generally, it’s just hard to discount a player who is a five-time All-Star in nine seasons in any professional league.