The struggles of Ichiro Suzuki

ichiro-suzuki-540x351I don't have enough time to write about all the Yankees who are under-achieving offensively. Instead, I'll try to pick off the grossest offenders. We can start with Ichiro Suzuki. When the Yankees acquired Ichiro last season, the team wasn't acquiring the .330 AVG hit machine who became famous in Seattle. When the Bombers picked Ichiro up he was hitting a miserable .261/.288/.353. That's not a player you want in your lineup. I don't care how famous he is. Surprisingly, Suzuki stepped into the way-back machine when he donned the Pinstripes. Ichiro hit .322/.340/.454 with the Yankees, almost vintage stuff. But it raised the question who the real Ichiro was. Was he the automatic out in Seattle? Or was he the .320 hitter in the Bronx?

So far this season we've only had the bad Ichiro. He's hitting .278/.315/.385. That translates into a .304 wOBA or an 88 wRC+. No matter how you slice it, that's below average production. In total, Ichiro has given the Yankees 1.3 fWAR. His defense and his base running have helped to lift his overall value, but he is a shadow of the player he was in his prime when he was putting up 4-6 fWAR a year.

Ichiro's return to his diminished self is bad enough. But what makes things worse is that he remains one of the better hitters on the Yankees. His .314 OBP is well below average, but entering Sunday's game only Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner had better OBPs on the team. Put another way, as bad as Ichiro's been, I'm still glad the Yankees have him, but for all the wrong reasons.