2011 Fantasy Projections, No. 45: Why Ichiro Suzuki Is Still a Top 50 Player

Nick Kappel@@NickKappelAnalyst IIIFebruary 17, 2011

ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 26: Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Seattle Mariners warms up in the on deck circle against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 26, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

Ichiro’s value has declined in recent seasons thanks to the lack of a true run-producer in the Mariners lineup. After averaging 111 runs per season from 2001 to 2008, Ichiro has scored just 88 and 74 runs in each of the last two seasons.

The acquisitions of Jack Cust, Miguel Olivio, and the potential that Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley bring, however, could help Ichiro reach 100 runs in 2011. This would go a long way in solidifying his spot among fantasy’s top 50 players.

Ichiro’s run-scoring totals, however, aren’t were his value lies. There’s something to be said about a player who can steal 40 bases and compete for a batting title each season.

Despite entering his age-37 season, Ichiro has maintained a stolen base percentage above 80 in recent years. Given that he’s averaged 39 steals over the last five seasons, there’s no reason to think he can’t push for 40 again in 2011.

Ichiro has remained among the league-leaders in contact rate (89.1 percent in 2010, MLB average 80.7 percent), and has hit .350 twice in the last four years.

Given an improved lineup, Ichiro remains capable of leading the league in at-bats and plate appearances, posting 100 runs, 40 steals and single-handedly winning the batting average category for you each week. Not many players can say that. Ichiro is our 14th-ranked outfielder, No. 45 overall.

2010 stats7327464342.315
3-year average7208884437.325
2011 FBI Forecast73010085040.327



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