Mariners #1 RF: Ichiro Suzuki – 54.5 fWAR
Shortstop. Center. DH. Right Field. Everyone knows who the top player is, and there really is no debate about it.
Ichiro is a beast. Imagining what he possibly could’ve done if he spent his entire career in the states puts him in a completely different conversation, and he enters into the greatest MLB Players of All-Time list.
Think about it quickly. If he joins the MLB at 22, he would spend 24 seasons playing. Really, that adds five seasons to the beginning of his career. With how dominant he was in Japan early in his career, (.356, .345, .358, .343, .387) I don’t see any issue with him coming out of the gates strong just like he did at age-27. So, five seasons would be about 1125 more hits to add to his total, as he averaged about 225 his first ten seasons in the bigs. Pete Rose was as 4,256. That would’ve put Ichiro up to 4,214.
Also… imagine if Ichiro came over at 21. You know, back in 1995. I can’t. I’m getting too excited. Ichiro, Griffey, Edgar, A-Rod (96 was the insane year, who cares), and Buhner all in the same lineup? MY OH MY.
Anyway, back to the actual realistic talk about Ichiro and what he did.
Ichiro was a hitting machine. He would slap the ball all over the field, wherever he wanted. He’s the singular guy I think about that would’ve loved to watch the shifts of today, because he would’ve 100% put the time in to adjust how he plays and start hitting it other places since it is what he did anyway.
2004 was the season that he broke the hits record, and it was so fun keeping track of that. Waking up every day to check box scores, whether it was through AOL Dial-up (yes kids, the internet did use to come in the mail), the newspaper, or on ESPN back when they were actually good.
After saying that… Oh man do I feel old. Like, get off my lawn old. Jeez.
By the end of June that year, Ichiro was hitting .315. A great number, and fairly in line with what he had done in his career so far, as he was a .328 hitter through his first three years. Do you remember what he did for the remaining three months of the season?
July – .432
August – .464
September – .379
Goodness gracious that’s insane.
For three months, for 84 games, for just over half the season, Ichiro would hit .423/.459/.509.
It’s hard to comprehend just how good that is. Guys have OBP that high every once in a while. Joey Votto did it a couple of times. So has Trout. Pujols did it. Bonds can shove it. It’s the batting average though. Holy cow. For anyone with 400+ Abs in a season, that would’ve been fifth all-time. EVER. No one has hit anywhere close to that since pre-depression. (No, not the beginning of March 2022, although it feels that way for baseball fans)
Ichiro is the greatest Right Fielder that the Mariners have ever had, and a worthy finisher for rounding out the entire field. Stay tuned to see who follows Edgar as the greatest DH in team history.
We’ve made it all the way around the field. A couple of decisions were made throughout to not put certain hitters in the field, leaving them at DH instead. That’ll be next up, so stay tuned for the greatest DHs in the history of the Seattle Mariners.