How Seia Suzuki used Mike Trout as inspiration for approaching Cubes

MESA, Ariz – Ichiro Suzuki is 5 feet 11 inches and 170 pounds, while Mike Trout is 6-2, 235. They represent different bodies and playing styles, but their unique abilities combine to influence career paths. Seia Suzuki.

However, just two weeks after the Chicago Cube, Suzuki is doing a lot to create its own identity.

On the opening day, a suburb was set on fire against Corbin Burns by Milwaukee Brewers – the winner of the National Young League’s Cy Young Award – and he created a single and a walk, no less than against a pitcher known for his precise control. .

“I have never seen such a pitch before, but it made me excited,” Suzuki told Japanese reporters about Burns’ quick ball. “I was saying,‘ Wow, are there pitchers that can do this here? ’The force and movement of the ball was amazing and just something I had never seen before.

Excited? Yes. Stopped? You are welcome.

After his debut, Suzuki continues to radiate, playing on the right pitch and fighting in the middle of the Cuban order. He played a back-to-back game in Pittsburgh, went deeper twice before Thursday and collected 12 RBIs, along with 13 walks, two of which were intentional. He led the Majors.520 percentage points.

Although they share a surname, Suzuki is not related to Ichiro Suzuki, a longtime Seattle Mariners star who made his debut in 2001. Ichiro Suzuki’s stellar first season brought him a rare combination as the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. Made him the only 16-position player to arrive from Japan and be named the best rookie in his league. (Shohei Ohtan, the two-way star, was also in 2018.)

The 17th-ranked player from Japan, of course, is Seia Suzuki, and with an average of 0.343 lambs in his 13 games, it is quite obvious to compare him to Ichiro Suzuki.

This comparison started after Haya’s Hiroshima Karp chose to leave the high school in the second round of the 2012 draft. He was immediately nicknamed the “Red-helmeted Ichiro”, referring to the loudly colored scarf of carp sticks. He was also initially awarded the same uniform number as Ichiro, 51, before eventually taking No. 1 for the 2019 season, a prestigious honor with Carp.

Like Ichiro, Junior Suzuki’s journey to the right field began on a high school pitcher hill, where he reached 92 miles per hour with radar weapons. But Hiroshima wanted his offensive potential and began to develop him as an infiltrator. He moved between positions during the 2013 and 2014 calls, but by 2016, at the age of 21, he was Carp’s right-back.

The young Suzuki fight to defend the position caught the eye of Hiroki Kuroda, who played in the United States, including in the Yankees from 2012 to 2014. This led to a change of career and a change of approach. The red-haired Ichiro tried to get more of his muscular physique.

“I was so busy then establishing myself and fighting for the carp that American baseball was the furthest from my mind,” Suzuki said recently in his native Japanese. “But Kuroda San noticed me and told me about a player I reminded him of with a similar build and skill. He told me that if I worked hard, I could look like him.”

Kuroda recently joined Carp after seven seasons and 79 wins for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Yankees. The player he referred to for Suzuki’s inspiration? Angels Trout – considered by many to be one of the best players in baseball history.

Kuroda’s encouragement was immediately affected.

“I started searching for this guy’s video,” Suzuki explained. “When I found him, I was fascinated by his talent. He could run, shoot, hit and have power. It was very inspiring for Kuroda San to say that I had in my head to develop such a player. This gave me great motivation at exactly the time when I needed it most. It has affected my workout, my diet and my whole approach. I became more focused on that guy. “

By the time Kuroda retired in 2016, after two seasons as a Suzuki teammate, Trout had won two of three MVP awards and received votes for five consecutive all-star games – the series is now nine. Arriving in Japan by phone, Kuroda explained what he had seen in a young Suzuki to make such a comparison.

“I know I set the bar high,” Kuroda said in Japanese. “But both of them are right-handed outside players with a similar build. Obviously, I’m not baked, but when I look at Seia Suzuki from a pitcher perspective, I see a very tough situation. Besides, in America you have the term “Five Device Player” and that’s exactly what it is. Not only is he a talented batter, but he excels in all the skills needed for a position player. “This complete packing of the body reminded me of a trout.”

Kuroda was even more excited that Suzuki took his advice to heart.

“All I did was notice his potential and score a goal, albeit a high one,” he said. “He had a longing and a desire to continue. “Apart from his all-round athleticism, I would say that his unwavering ambition is one of his most impressive qualities.”

While Suzuki was inspired by Trout talent, he warned that his goal was to play less like Trout and to focus more of his energy on maximizing his talent, which he saw in these videos from Trout.

“Baseball is a sport you play every day,” Suzuki said. “I challenged myself to make the most of my potential, as this trout did to myself. I was able to strain myself when I was frustrated, saying to myself, ‘I bet he kept pushing himself,’ or when I felt. Exhausted, I thought, “You will not reach the maximum like him if you stop here.” He was not my rival; He was my inspiration. “

In addition to the wild exploits that earned him five Japanese Golden Glove Awards, Suzuki Hiroshima has achieved more than 300 seasons in six consecutive seasons, thus winning titles in 2019 and 2021. In the same seasons he also led the Central League. -Basic percentage and base plus fatigue percentage. It normally hit 25 or more home mileages each year and reached three double-digit numbers in stolen bases. He formed two all-star teams and represented Japan at the 2017 Baseball World Classic and last summer at the Tokyo Olympics, where he won a gold medal.

Although Suzuki said he did not initially consider competing in the United States, this challenge eventually became a natural progression of his dedication to maximizing his potential. Suzuki acknowledged Trout’s influence and received his T-shirt number, 27, when he signed the cube.

When Suzuki talked about the excitement of all the new things he hopes to meet in American baseball – for example, Burns’ quick cut ball – he threw a ball of sudden curvature, which made Kuroda’s observation of self-improvement even clearer.

“I even imagine that the way the fans are agitated here is different and I can not stand the experience of that,” he said.

If his start indicates how his career is developing, the agitation may not happen often, at least not in Chicago.

Brad Lefton is a bilingual journalist based in St. Louis who has been covering baseball in Japan and the Americas for nearly three decades.

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