Concerns over Ichiro Suzuki‘s decline are a little overblown. Here are the facts:
His walk rate was never good, but it’s been on the decline from 6.1% in 2010 to just 3.3% last year.
He has a career 9.3% strikeout rate, and last year was no different at 9.2%.
Two of his three highest infield fly rates have come in the last two years (14.2% and 13.8% in ’11 and ’12, respectively).
With the Yankees he stole 14 bases in 67 games, good for a rate of 33 steals per 161 games.
He’s played at least 161 games in eight of the last nine years.
Suzuki certainly is not the player he was five years ago, but he’s still a fantasy force. He almost never misses a game, and in 2013 he gets a full season as the Yankees’ lead-off hitter. His power played well a Yankee Stadium last year as he hit five homers in just 67 games with an 11.1% HR/FB rate, so it’ll be interesting to see if a full season in New York’s left-handed hitting haven significantly boosts Suzuki’s power numbers.
At a Glance