FanDuel - WFBC

July 11, 2007

Ichiro takes round-trip to All-Star history.: MVP Ichiro Suzuki hits the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history.

posted by kirkaracha to baseball at 06:03 PM - 51 comments

He went around the bases in 15 seconds. He scored standing up and it didn't even look like he was running all that hard.

posted by kirkaracha at 06:04 PM on July 11

Weird karom. Cool moment.

posted by THX-1138 at 06:17 PM on July 11

I suspect that Ichiro is one of those guys (like Jeter) who has so widely come to be regarded as overrated that he's now actually underrated. I have no great affinity for singles hitters, but I sure do love his game.

posted by holden at 06:24 PM on July 11

I'm sure this is an unpopular viewpoint but I've maintained for years that Ichiro Suzuki is the best player in the game.When you look at his batting,speed,fielding,base stealing and surprising power,he is truly a total package.It is ridiculous to say he is overrated.

posted by sickleguy at 06:42 PM on July 11

it didn't even look like he was running all that hard Totally. I am slow as can be, so what do I know, but it looked more like loping than anything else. I'm so excited for the Sox prospect Jacoby Ellsbury because he has similar speed, where every ground out is an adventure. Given guys like Ichiro, Reyes, etc. that have come into the game, it will be interesting to see how they change the nature of defense, since 90 feet isn't enough to keep them off base.

posted by yerfatma at 06:59 PM on July 11

I'm so excited for the Sox prospect Jacoby Ellsbury because he has similar speed, where every ground out is an adventure. Seeing him score from second the other night on a wild pitch was fantastic. The sooner Coco is out of there and Ellsbury is in, the better for the Red Sox, methinks.

posted by holden at 07:23 PM on July 11

Ichiro showed last night why he's such a fantastic player. Laying the bat out and dumping a ball in for a base hit, and the inside-the-parker was fantastic. Speed is what's underrated in baseball, and having a guy like him leading off is beyond valuable. Imagine if Boston or some other top team had him at the top of their lineup. He'd score more runs than some teams. It's kind of easy to take him for granted when he's playing in Seattle.

posted by dyams at 08:17 PM on July 11

Ichiro is a beast...he pushes himself as far as he can go- he gets my respect.

posted by urall cloolis at 12:08 AM on July 12

I've maintained for years that Ichiro Suzuki is the best player in the game....It is ridiculous to say he is overrated. Well, if you think he's the best player in the game, then it's not ridiculous to say he's "overrated". He's got all the tools except power and a better command of the strike zone*, and there are a few players I can think of that are "better" than Ichiro. *Please note: "command of the strike zone" does NOT mean "hitting anything near the strike zone" (see, Guerrero, Vladimir). It means recognizing a pitch as a ball and taking a walk. That said, there are only 10 players in baseball right now that I actively try to watch on TV when I get the chance: 1) Ichiro! 2) Barry Bonds 3) Alex Rodriguez 4) Vladimir Guerrero 5) Johan Santana 6) Roy Halladay 7) Felix Hernandez 8) Jose Reyes 9) Albert Pujols 10) Derek Jeter Honourable Mentions: Curtis Granderson, Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright it didn't even look like he was running all that hard... but it looked more like loping than anything else. Devon White ran the exact same way, whether it was legging out a triple or hauling in a deep fly ball. If you didn't know any better, you'd swear he looked bored, it was so effortless.

posted by grum@work at 12:33 AM on July 12

I'm no great baseball mind, but Ichiro would definitely be in my top five active players.

posted by hootch at 02:00 AM on July 12

I was more impressed by his dinky single earlier in the game -- looked like a cricket batsman expertly placing an errant throw. I'm sorry he's off the market -- was hoping the Mets would make a run at him...

posted by ajaffe at 07:23 AM on July 12

The sooner Coco is out of there and Ellsbury is in, the better for the Red Sox, methinks. I don't know: the Red Sox claim their defensive metric puts Crisp's work in center this year in the All-Time category. Win Shares credits him with 5.6 for defense alone. If his bat ever wakes up, he's a contributor.

posted by yerfatma at 07:25 AM on July 12

Suzuki is a throwback to the old days of getting on base by "hitting 'em where they ain't". (Was that Willy Keeler? Maybe The Old Man saw him.) I really wish more of today's players would adopt the approach of choking the bat a little and trying to punch singles through the infield. How many times have we seen a hitter strike out while trying to hit a 3-run home run when his team is behind by one, and there are runners on 2nd and 3rd. Chicks may dig the long ball, but baseball games are won by getting on base and advancing runners. Give me 9 Suzukis in my lineup.

posted by Howard_T at 07:48 AM on July 12

I'm sorry he's off the market -- was hoping the Mets would make a run at him... Now why you got to go and hurt my feeling like that? I was just getting over the fact that A-Rod snubbed the Mets for the Yanks a few years ago (the wounds healed slowly) and now you bring up Ichiro? Well, at least it's not like we went out and tried to get him in the first place and got dissed. If Ichiro continues hitting the way he has, he'll more than likely reach that 3,000 hits plateau and head right into Cooperstown. Great player!

posted by BornIcon at 07:59 AM on July 12

If Ichiro continues hitting the way he has, he'll more than likely reach that 3,000 hits plateau and head right into Cooperstown. I don't know if 3000 hits is within his range (as he gets older, he is going to lose some speed so those infield singles aren't going to be as plentiful), but even if he gets into the 2700-2900 range, I think he'll get enough love for his defense, his unique situation (one of the Japanese trailblazers) and his records/awards (Gold Gloves, All-Star, MVP, Rookie of the Year, hit record) that he'll still get into the HOF on the first ballot. The HOF was created for players like Ichiro. In fifty years, you want players like Ichiro to be remembered, even if all of their stats have been surpassed by other players.

posted by grum@work at 09:09 AM on July 12

I don't know if 3000 hits is within his range... Which is why I started that sentence with, "If.." Regardless, I totally agree with your statement that, "[t]he HOF was created for players like Ichiro." Here's a guy that may not crank out homers on a daily but will contribute all the little things that more than makes up for the lack of power. I personally believe that Jose Reyes of the Mets is another guy that should be brought up in conversations when speaking of players like Ichiro. His speed alone can distract just about any pitcher into balking and since he's so young (and with Rickey Henderson now the Mets hitting coach) the rest of his tools should improve in due time.

posted by BornIcon at 09:36 AM on July 12

Ichiro has certainly been a great player this year. but he's only had one other full season during which he hit as well - 2004. His value depends highly on his batting average, so when he hits .350, he's great. When he doesn't come close, as in 2003 and 2005, though, his value is pretty close to that of an major league average outfielder. They key for him is to avoid hitting fly balls; his worst seasons tend to come, not coincidentally, when he hits the most home runs. While obviously power is by far his most significant weakness, it's clearly one he should ignore. (Unless, of course, he can hit lots of inside-the-park home runs.) Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be doing as good a job at that as he has in his best seasons, so I expect his batting average to sink somewhat in the second half, by at least 20 points. He'll still end up with the 2nd or 3rd best season of his career, though. He's fairly obviously both overrated and underrated because of his unusual (for mlb today) set of skills. He's not just a plain singles hitter, but because of his lack of power, he simply can't be nearly as valuable offensively as players who get on base 40% of the time and hit for lots of power. His plus defense at a position in the middle of the defensive spectrum is a significant positive, of course, but it's not like he's a shortstop or catcher. So far this year, based on his hitting, baserunning, and defense, he's been somewhere around the 15th best player in the game (Top 10 so far this year: Magglio Ordonez, ARod, Bonds, Chipper Jones, Carlos Guillen, Victor Martinez, Posada, Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez and Chase Utley). In a season like 2003 or 2005, he's more like the 100th best player in the game. So his value lies somewhere inbetween.

posted by spira at 10:38 AM on July 12

I know this is about Ichiro,but as spira mentioned above,Magglio Ordonez seems to have all the tools.I don't get to see much of him,but what he showed against the Red Sox in the last series they played,he seems to have it all the to become a great player.

posted by Ghastly one at 11:23 AM on July 12

Mags has always been a good player (Chi Sox anyone?) and is having a great year in Detroit. IMO, what separates A-Rod from these other guys is the fact that A-Rod has never really been hurt. To be able to contribute season after season the way this guy has is truly a remarkable feat and if he continues to do so, I won't be the only one to consider him to be the greatest player in the game. It'll say just that on his plaque at Cooperstown.

posted by BornIcon at 12:14 PM on July 12

What separates A-Rod is the fact he hits better than anyone else (ignoring Bonds).

posted by yerfatma at 12:29 PM on July 12

That said, there are only 10 players in baseball right now that I actively try to watch on TV I thought of making a list, but 1-9 would be Manny. Arod would follow at 10 but only if he continues to wear the awesome white golf shoes he wore during the all star game. Cousin Eddie would have been proud. Magglio Ordonez seems to have all the tools.I don't get to see much of him,but what he showed against the Red Sox in the last series they played,he seems to have it all the to become a great player. He certainly is a tremendous player, but you must have watched a different series than I did. He was 1 for 4 with 4 left on base in the first game, 1 for 4 with 1 RBI in the second, and didn't play in the third.

posted by justgary at 12:51 PM on July 12

Arod would follow at 10 but only if he continues to wear the awesome white golf shoes he wore during the all star game You really dug those Labor Day shoes? I thought he was just paying tribute to Billy "White Shoes" Johnson. Those Nikes looked horrible on him .

posted by BornIcon at 01:07 PM on July 12

I think that most of the people that believe Ichiro is not a player with all the tools, has never seen him hit for power. In 1995, when he was still in Japan, he had 25 hr, with a .342 ba, 104 runs and 80 rbi's. Oh and do not forget about his 50 sb's that year as well. This was also done in 32 less games than the MLB. Ichiro can hit for power, no questions asked. If given the chance to hit in the derby, I can easily see him being a true contender. His japanese rookie statistics are just as outstanding as any pure hitter could create, although he did not make it the Japanese Pacific League until 20 because his coach thought his swing was too unorthodox, he was able to surmass 210 hits, and bat .385 in 130 games in 1994 (which is an ironically similar statistic to his 262 hit season, averaging roughly 1.5-1.6 hits a game).

posted by trentonm at 01:33 PM on July 12

You really dug those Labor Day shoes? I thought he was just paying tribute to Billy "White Shoes" Johnson. BI, he was actually paying tribute to your Mets and has been wearing them the past few years.

posted by goddam at 01:46 PM on July 12

Actually, what I believe he said was, "I do it because of Keith Hernandez, who was one of my favorite players growing up. He and Gary Carter used to always wear white." That doesn't mean anything about paying tribute to the Mets. He could've paid tribute by signing with the Mets instead of the Yanks when we tried to lure him in. (Damn you, Steve Phillips!!) Just because he's worn them the past few years doesn't make them look any better. Ugh!

posted by BornIcon at 01:54 PM on July 12

Ichiro has said, and I believe it, that if he were "allowed" to hit .240 like some power hitters in the league, he could be a 40-50 HR per year hitter. I have seen him put on a HR display at BP at Safeco. At the All Star game, Leyland said Ichiro hit almost everything out during his BP. But he still calls Buhner "Bill", so he's not totally perfect.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:41 PM on July 12

I'm sure this is an unpopular viewpoint but I've maintained for years that Ichiro Suzuki is the best player in the game.When you look at his batting,speed,fielding,base stealing and surprising power,he is truly a total package.It is ridiculous to say he is overrated. He has an OPS of .869 which puts him with the like of Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin. While singles are worth something, they aren't worth enough to make him "the best player in the game".

posted by bdaddy at 03:46 PM on July 12

Ichiro has said, and I believe it, that if he were "allowed" to hit .240 like some power hitters in the league, he could be a 40-50 HR per year hitter. I was just about to mention that and then you beat me to it.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:03 PM on July 12

Ichiro has said, and I believe it, that if he were "allowed" to hit .240 like some power hitters in the league, he could be a 40-50 HR per year hitter. They use to say the same thing about Wade Boggs. But really, is that statement suppose to be impressive? Quite a few hitters could hit more home runs if they let their average go to hell. And who are these power hitters being allowed to hit 240? Take the top 10 home run hitters and their overall average is 285. Not until you get to number 17 do you get to anyone hitting in the 240s. If you take the top 25 home run hitters you can add one more to make a total of 2 that are hitting 240 or below. Only 7 of the top 40 are hitting 240 or below. So the referral to a group of players hitting 240 and hitting 40-50 home runs is a little misleading as they really don't exist. What's impressive is hitting with power and not hitting 240.

posted by justgary at 04:23 PM on July 12

They use to say the same thing about Wade Boggs. Ty Cobb used to say the same as well and supposedly "proved" it during one game where he decided to focus on HR. I always thought it was asinine because if Ty Cobb COULD hit HRs instead of singles, why would he think it more valuable to hit singles? Basically it's a cop out IMO.

posted by bdaddy at 04:48 PM on July 12

Not until you get to number 17 do you get to anyone hitting in the 240s. That's only because Adam Dunn is hitting (for now) 11 points over his career .247. So what Ichiro is pretending is that he could hit like Dunn if he wanted to. We'll never know if that's true, but I'm not so sure Dunn is more valuable than Ichiro.

posted by qbert72 at 04:58 PM on July 12

And who are these power hitters being allowed to hit 240? In the history of recorded major league baseball (from 1871-2006), there have been a grand total of 7 different players (over 9 seasons) who have hit 40 home runs and batted less than .250 for a season: Harmon Killebrew 1959 Harmon Killebrew 1962 Gorman Thomas 1979 Darrell Evans 1985 Jay Buhner 1997 Jose Canseco 1998 Greg Vaughn 1999 Adam Dunn 2005 Adam Dunn 2006 We'll never know if that's true, but I'm not so sure Dunn is more valuable than Ichiro. Well, using their 2006 seasons, and removing base running from the equation (since we are talking about hitting only, and we would assume that if Ichiro transformed himself into a Dunn-like hitter, he'd still run the bases like Ichiro), the total runs created for both players is: Adam Dunn: 33.65 Ichiro Suzuki: 24.50 So, in fact, Dunn is worth more with a bat than Ichiro. Obviously, if you factor in their base running, Ichiro squeaks by Dunn overall: Adam Dunn: 35.75 Ichiro Suzuki: 36.80

posted by grum@work at 05:21 PM on July 12

That's only because Adam Dunn is hitting (for now) 11 points over his career .247. posted by qbert72 if he were "allowed" to hit .240 like some power hitters in the league So you're saying by the words "some power hitters" he meant Dunn? Then why didn't he say "If I were allowed to hit 240 like Dunn"? I actually heard the quote as simply saying if he were allowed to hit 240 he could hit a lot more home runs, which I guess is impressive with his slight build and it not being his game. But if he said "like some power hitters" it's misleading. Picking out all of one (Dunn) doesn't change that. With grum's additional information that all of 7 players have done it in history it's even more misleading. Dunn is the exception that proves the rule. And I'm not putting down the guy down. Great player and he was probably speaking off the cuff. But I think people taking the remark and running with it are a little confused with its validity.

posted by justgary at 05:28 PM on July 12

Ugh. Obviously, if I looked at the numbers on the baseball-reference site itself (instead of calculating them haphazardly on my own and using an out of date formula), you could see that Runs Created/27 (if you had a batting lineup of just that player) for each player is: Dunn: 6.05 Suzuki: 5.99 That includes baserunning. Those numbers I mentioned above? Don't look at them. There was some BAD calculations going on there.

posted by grum@work at 05:28 PM on July 12

So what you're saying is: Pay no attention to that grum behind the curtain?

posted by tommytrump at 05:47 PM on July 12

Pay no attention to that grum behind the curtain? Yes. I've been running a fever all day, and it looks like it's finally affected my ability to comprehend basic statistics. As you can imagine, this is a terrifying moment for me...

posted by grum@work at 06:32 PM on July 12

grum, if you're having trouble comprehending statistics, that is a terrifying thought for the entire SportsFilter community.

posted by tommytrump at 06:54 PM on July 12

So Dunn was more valuable to his team last year than Suzuki as far as runs created. Maybe Dunn would like a $20 mil/year contract as well :-)

posted by bdaddy at 09:32 PM on July 12

But if he said "like some power hitters" it's misleading. Picking out all of one (Dunn) doesn't change that. Agreed that it's misleading on Ichiro's part. He'd go from being one exception to another. It's just so happens that there's just one player producing the kind of stats he says he could, so it's just too easy to compare them, and wonder: "If he really could do it, would he be more valuable than he is now?"

posted by qbert72 at 09:55 PM on July 12

Gee, sorry. I didn't want to make a statement that (eventually) may have broken grum's calculator. I was only trying to counter a growing slant on this thread that seemed to downplay Ichiro's abilities as a power hitter. Perhaps I did get too caught up in my fan-worship of Ichiro, but cripes, throw me a bone every now and then. I'm a damned Mariners fan for God's sakes. I bow to the superior intellect. But he does hit a LOT of dingers in BP. Shutting up.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:26 PM on July 12

Those numbers I mentioned above? Don't look at them. There was some BAD calculations going on there. It's because you keep using the "Brit spelling." That'll learn ya.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:00 AM on July 13

I was only trying to counter a growing slant on this thread that seemed to downplay Ichiro's abilities as a power hitter. maybe we're a little jaded because his career slugging percentage is .439.

posted by bdaddy at 09:16 AM on July 13

So, in fact, Dunn is worth more with a bat than Ichiro. Cool stats (acknowledging the ones from this post were replaced with ones that supposedly even more values Dunn over Ichiro) - also acknowledging that grum listed Ichiro first in his list of players to watch ... So, let's not forget we started this by talking about the overall value of Ichiro. Being a Reds fan (I also like acupuncture with rusty nails), and not that it takes being a Reds fan to see this - Dunn is a defensive abomination, and ridiculously poor at situational hitting. Plus, I'm sure it's just me - but that RC calculation looks odd to me - not sure I'm buying into it (but it could easily be me needing to understand it better). But regardless, a point could be made that Dunn's getting exaggerated RunsCreated stats thanks to playing at Great American. Nutshell = telling me that Dunn is better/more valuable than Ichiro will induce laughter.

posted by littleLebowski at 11:14 AM on July 13

But regardless, a point could be made that Dunn's getting exaggerated RunsCreated stats thanks to playing at Great American. Based on the information on baseball-reference.com, there is NO adjustment based on ballpark, so it is quite possible that after the adjustment, Ichiro is more valuable (with the bat and feet). The values on BBref are: Runs Created (2006): Ichiro: 106 Dunn: 99 However, that is skewed because Ichiro got 69 more plate appearances than Dunn (leadoff vs 4th/5th spot). Runs Created / 27 (2006) (Runs Created per 27 outs - This is the number of runs a team of each player would score given their stats. RC * 27 / # of outs made by the player) Ichiro: 5.99 Dunn: 6.05 Again, this is just with the bat and the feet. When you factor in the glove and the arm, Ichiro is much more valuable. However, that wasn't the initial hypothesis, which was "What if Ichiro [batted like Dunn]?" ridiculously poor at situational hitting "Situational hitting" is a sham. It's never been proven to be a repeatable stat. Here are Ichiro's OPS numbers for "Late & Close" over his career: link Here are Dunn's OPS numbers for "Late & Close" over his career: link For both of them, it's like a roller-coaster ride. Up, down, middle, down, up again... And before someone says anything, here are the "Late & Close" numbers for two players well known for their "clutch": link 1 & link 2 Edit: the links don't seem to have column headers, so I'll just say that the OPS value is the 4th column from the right, and is the one to look at.

posted by grum@work at 12:12 PM on July 13

Ichiro Lifetime MLB 6+ seasons, 1482 hits, .333 avg Japan 7 seasons, 1278 hits, .353 avg

posted by boxscore jr. at 12:14 PM on July 13

Nutshell = telling me that Dunn is better/more valuable than Ichiro will induce laughter. well I'm not sure anybody is saying that. The main points are 1) If Ichirio really COULD hit 50HR a season, if he wanted to, then it would make absolutely no sense for him NOT to (even at a sacrifice of batting average) since the total value to the team would be better. 2) It goes to show how out of left field the comment that "Ichiro Suzuki is the best player in the game" really is. Especially when a guy named Barry, who may very well be the best EVER to play the game (or at least in the top 3), is still active and currently has an OPS at 1.101 (slightly above his career average of 1.053) Ichiro's good, and fun to watch, but he's not in that league...especially in todays MLB.

posted by bdaddy at 12:28 PM on July 13

Fair enough, grum and bdaddy. Just misinterpretation of where the Dunn comments were going. But, your points make it easier to swallow - thanks. Is it OK if I still laugh at Dunn (or cry)?

posted by littleLebowski at 01:03 PM on July 13

"Situational hitting" is a sham. It's never been proven to be a repeatable stat. I will take good-natured exception to this, though. Just because it can't be put into a formula, doesn't mean it's unimportant. I don't need a calculator to tell me that - after Dunn got his first sacrifice-fly RBI this year, that made 2 in his last 33 opportunities ("opportunities" does not include at-bats where he actually got a hit) = he has a problem with situational hitting. **I can't guarantee the accuracy of those numbers, but I think they're darn close, as I remember them from a Reds' broadcast earlier this year. I appreciate what you're saying about the "late & close OPS", and that's a very cool analysis - but I wish there was a formula for: Level of Dunn-Induced Angst = number of plate appearances / number of times said appearance results in "move the fucking runner over" being screamed

posted by littleLebowski at 01:33 PM on July 13

after Dunn got his first sacrifice-fly RBI this year, that made 2 in his last 33 opportunities ("opportunities" does not include at-bats where he actually got a hit) Wow. That has to be one of the silliest stats I've seen. So they counted all of the times when Dunn had a man on third, with less two outs, but if Dunn got a hit, it was NOT counted? To summarize: when he was more successful than what was expected (and measured), it wasn't counted. That's like complaining Player X doesn't get enough doubles or triples, but excluding all the times he got home runs instead. And just to make a point about how sac fly stats are silly, Adam Dunn has as many sacrifice flies this season that David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, and Barry Bonds combined.

posted by grum@work at 04:46 PM on July 13

Man, I love Adam Dunn talk. Baseball Reference says his nickname is "Big Donkey".

posted by qbert72 at 06:33 PM on July 13

Keep Adam Dunn (in Cincinnati). OK, enough with the derailing.

posted by qbert72 at 09:06 PM on July 13

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