In the performance-enhancing days of yesteryear, being 38 didn’t necessarily mean that you slowed down. In some cases, it seemed you got better.
Ichiro Suzuki struggled last year and is off to a slow start. Can he turn it around?
Thanks to 10 straight 200-hit, .300-plus batting average seasons, Ichiro has a lifetime average of .323.
Last year marked the first time he failed to reach 200 hits, and his .272 average was proof of the decline. He scored 80 runs, but that is more of an indictment on Seattle’s offense, as he had scored 88 and 74 runs in the two prior years.
That didn’t mean Ichiro didn’t have value, though, as he swiped 40 bases in 2011. Obviously a .272-80-5-47-40 line isn’t ideal in five-category leagues, but the stolen bases did go a long way.
Flash forward to 2012 and you are dealing with some similar issues.
The batting average has dipped to .262. With 40 runs through 84 games, you’re looking at roughly 80 runs. His four home runs and 27 RBI are on pace for about eight and 54.
Ichiro has just 11 stolen bases on the year, which puts him on pace for a career low of about 22. He only had less than 30 stolen bases once (in 2009 when he was limited to 146 games).
Last year, Ichiro was slightly better (.274 vs. .270), but for his career, he hits seven points lower after the All-Star break.
Ichiro has been dreadful at home, hitting .217 at Safeco and .302 on the road. He has 40 home games remaining vs. 38 road games, which works a little into his favor, but at 38, I am not expecting a fountain of youth.
I wouldn’t suggest dropping him since he still could get on a roll in the stolen-base category. I just wouldn’t religiously plug him into your lineup like you have in the past. Play the matchup game with him and use him when the schedule dictates it.
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