So, I had this long drawn out thought, back on Sunday, that included thoughts on ARod’s biceps, Jose Canseco being under rated during his time in the late 80′s (worth 8 wins in ’88) and what it would take to push fans from thinking that Ichiro Suzuki’s stance change had less to do with a resurgence and more with the fact he was using something to increase his longevity and possibly his strength.
Crazy.Plain flat out such an amazingly weird thought progression. The idea itself is centralized behind the discussion of whether or not that Ichiro could slug over 450.
Now, he’s been able to accomplish that feat only three times in the past 10 years since arriving. That isn’t to say he only did it 3 times because that’s he’s talent level but simply because I believe driving the ball hasn’t been part of his game. He tends more to barrell the ball into the ground, putting the ball in play rather and using his speed to notch easy base hits.
With him hitting the ball in the air rather than just driving it into the ground more just makes sense that we’re going to see an increase in his slugging percentage. But how much? Or maybe you don’t believe that or you see a decrease in his skills and think he’s going to be gone with Figgins by May.
I’ll get more into whether or not Ichiro could become a slugger later. But I am legitimately interested in how he would be viewed at that point. A 38 year-old, assuming that he was able to “transform” his career, slugging over .450 for only the 4th time in his career. Would that automatically give you questions about his integrity?
I think it’s interesting how people view older players and any type of resurgence in their careers. It seems, almost automatically, there are whisper of performance enhancing drugs that have to be associated with them. Ichiro is a bit different to us, I believe, for a few different reasons. The first that comes to mind is the culture in the far east and his warrior like ethos. Such a thing, I would think, would seem like such a huge token of dishonor should he be caught. I don’t believe that he could ever be associated with something like that.
Of course the other thing is that Ichiro keeps himself in impeccable shape. Obviously most atheltes have to in better shape than most other “normal” people but even for someone whose career is tied to their fitness I’ve never been in the condition, and probably never will, that Ichiro keeps himself. The guy looks near the same individual that came to Seattle back in 2001. You can look at Griffey in 1995 and then again in 2006 and obviously see the visual difference. Ichiro is different. And that’s part of why we haven’t seen things such as his ability to make contact ,or on occasions to drive the ball, his line drive percentage drop. The guy is very much the same hitter.
But just because someone comes from that culture it doesn’t mean that he would abstain and any person who was desperate enough, as we all know from watching enough TV, can do drastic and dramatic things to hold onto something they once had or something the desire deeply enough.
Of course there is always the occasion that you just got caught up in making a few poor decisions. I think about Keenu or as baseball-reference prefers Christian Carmichael. The young catcher down in the Arizona League the past couple of years in organization with the Mariners. He was a 6th round draft pick back in 2010. It has been pointed out by a few different sources, he comes from a culture that is has a unique value on honoring your family name. What he did was seen very negatively from my understanding.
I don’t bring this up just to have something to talk about but it was something that legitimately interested me. I wondered how many would really start to wonder about Ichiro. To be honest the guy could probably slug .550 and I wouldn’t think anything different about it or him, but that’s just my view. I don’t think there is much that would or could change that at this time.
I don’t expect him to slug .550 so don’t freak out. But, it was just something that poppped into my head the other day and felt I would use to open what will be a mini three part Ichiro-a-thon this week. Please partcipate in the poll below. Thanks!