It has been a month full of firsts.. The Opening Day was the day that a rookie outfielder earned his first big-league hit. Just 48 hours later, he scored his first homer. He helped the Cubs win with his first multihomer game a day later. He was then awarded the National League Player Award for Week, and the NL Rookie Award for April.
After nine years playing in Japan, Suzuki has one thing missing: a major league career.
Suzuki stated that he is looking for a hobby last week to ESPN through Toy Matsushita. “Practice here is much shorter. The time it takes to get to the field is also shorter. Practice is shorter for batting. I have more time.”
TeammateSuzuki was a long-time player in Japan, and he understood Suzuki's surprise at the shorter work hours in MLB.
Martin said that Japanese baseball players work tirelessly. “They can't feel prepared without working. Even after games, they do dry swings and work out. They just kept at it.”
Martin believes Suzuki must learn to switch off the “baseball switching” to be sharp for the entire 162-game MLB Season. He suggested golf or video games as great hobbies. Golf was outfielderAlso, you can use's idea.
Happ stated that “His father is into golf.” Happ suggested that golf might be the right thing for him.
The Cubs have been discussing the potential off-field interests of the Japanese star because, at least in the first weeks, he seems to have figured it all out.
Suzuki signed a five-year, $85million deal in March. It shows that he can face major league velocity, having come from a league that is more focused on finesse pitching. Suzuki has a 1.047 OPS against fastballs of four seam and a.947 against sinkers and two-seamers.
His first 11 games saw him score 1.478 OPS. But now, pitchers have a better understanding of how to pitch him. In his next 11 games, he had a.175 average batting and 14 strikeouts in 40 innings.
Suzuki stated that “the opponents didn't know about me.” “There weren't many data about me. I was reacting to pitches. More data is available right now. There are many ways they want to approach me.”
Along with finding something to fill his spare hours, the 27 year-old has to prove that his hot start is a sign of a promising future in the majors and is not just a temporary blip. It's clear that the Cubs have it in their sights, at least.
Jed Hoyer, president and CEO of baseball operations explained that they pursued him hard. “He was just right for this offseason.”
The Cubs were not a team with much star power when Suzuki searched for a MLB home in the offseason., And All were traded in July. DFA'd in the preceding offseason. Chicago lost its four top offensive stars from the 2016 World Series roster due to these moves.
However, the Cubs had the money to spend on rebuilding and with many high-profile free agents in winter, they decided to sign Suzuki in the early part of the offseason. After a series if Zoom meetings in November the team was forced to wait until the winter's 99-day MLB Lockout. Then it made its full pitch.
The delay had one benefit: It allowed the Cubs to do more research on Suzuki than any other player in recent history.
Hoyer said to his staff that “We're all going to have some money, so let's really get in touch and get an idea for our evaluation,” “You rarely have time for that. He just kept getting more and more positive reviews.
The Cubs brass was able to convince Suzuki shortly after the lockout was over to make Chicago his top pick.
Hoyer, David Ross as manager, Greg Brown as hitting coach, and Tom Ricketts as owner took Suzuki and Suzuki to Los Angeles to meet with their agent Joel Wolfe. This was an opportunity Hoyer was afraid he would not have had due to the speed of offseason after free agency resumed.
Although they couldn't give the Cubs an immediate win, their willingness to commit to a long-term deal helped them stand out from many other potential suitors. Hoyer and Wolfe made it clear from the start that they were interested to sign a five year deal.
Hoyer stated, “I'm sure that other teams were coming in to offer opt outs, with shorter ones.” “I wanted him to be a part of what we are building. I don't want an opt-out after two to three years. This doesn't make any sense.”
The Cubs went above and beyond to promote the team's vision, as well as Chicago, to Suzuki at dinner. The virtual presentation of Wrigley Field, complete with VR glasses, helped to facilitate the event. Hoyer said, “That went about how well those things can go.” “I was so ensconced to make him aware all the things we had to offer, that I wasn't really taking in what was happening at the moment. When we got to the car I said, “I think it went well.” The other guys thought it was funny. thought?'Those guys were more aware. It was a good thing. Did go well. We were able to complete it quickly.”
Suzuki was impressed by the Cubs' explanations in California and wanted to see Chicago firsthand. He also wanted to tour Wrigley Field before committing to the team. This trip was the final straw.
He stated that “the environment was really important to me.” “I wanted to have a look at the city and fields before I signed. “I just saw myself there.”
Suzuki instantly displayed his personality to the Chicago fans. To explain why he chose No. 27.
“With a big smile, he replied. “I love you,” he said.
Suzuki would often watch the Angels while he watched Major League Baseball in Japan when he turned on the game.‘s popularity. However, he was able to share Ohtani's NPB background and his ability at the plate to excel, but it was Trout, three-time MVP Trout, whom Suzuki wanted to imitate as he pursued his MLB dream.
Suzuki stated that he was a pitcher but decided not to become one. “I knew I wasn’t going to be great pitcher.”
Suzuki was chosen by Hiroshima Toyo Carp as a pitcher in the second round 2012 NPB draft. However, Suzuki became a full-time position hitter upon joining the team. He dominated the league from 2015 through 2021 as a hitter, posting a career.315 average, hitting 182 home runs, and being named to five NPB All-Star teams.
His combination of power, contact and patience made him a top-ranked professional player in Japan. He was able to impress even his idols from the major leagues.
Trout recently stated that “he's the complete package.” “I spoke to Shohei before he signed. He has a positive approach up there. He doesn't miss a shot when he has a ball to hit.
Cubs teammate, Suzuki was able to get a firsthand look at the plate after being present for over a month.He was unanimous in agreeing: “He takes his time, but is also aggressive.” He has a professional attitude at the plate.
“And he's a lot fun.”
Madrigal and other Cubs were astonished at the first few weeks. Suzuki was playing in less-than ideal weather conditions in a foreign country and new city. His determination never wavered. In his first 11 games, he had 12 hits and 12 runs. He also played solid defense in right field.
Suzuki now has to balance his efforts to get back to early-season form with adapting to a new schedule.
Suzuki stated that there is not enough time to travel around Chicago right now. “I will travel during off days but I must keep my strength for the long-term season.
Although it was easy for him to adjust in the beginning, there will be challenges ahead. The Cubs know that Suzuki's ability fit into their clubhouse is a sign of a personality that will appeal to his new fans.
“We've played with him. Martin stated that he is a great sport about it. You can see his positive personality. He has a positive vibe.”
It's starting to happen in Chicago.