Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling
Ichiro Suzuki is the most overrated player in baseball today and possibly in the history of baseball. Many people think he is one of the most elite hitters in baseball history but the stats paint a different picture.
Ichiro has a .778 OPS for his career, which is 83rd out of only 187 active players with 3000 career plate appearances. That is "middle of the pack" for those not too good at math. He is 621st out of about 1500 players in history with 3000+ Plate Appearances. Not very impressive by any stretch of the imagination.
Ichiro's career OPS+ is only 112, which makes him a little above average as a hitter in his career, yet some people think he is an automatic 1st ballot Hall of Famer. Boggles my mind.
I realize some people still love them some good old-fashioned Batting Average, but even there his career AVG is only .3199, good for 53rd all-time and 4th among active players. Not really one of the very best ever.
He rarely works a walk, which really puts a damper on his OBP. He has very little power (0.096 Isolated Power) and rarely gets extra base hits. Ichiro is a slap hitter, nothing more. He is simply not an elite hitter.
Even though Ichiro came to the USA after playing several seasons in Japan he is still 7th among all active players in career Plate Appearances (and will be 5th by the end of the season), so it is not like he has been cheated for lack of opportunity. By the time he retires he will likely be in the top 50 All Time for most plate appearances. He has averaged 727 PAs per season, a very high number.
Ichiro is a good all-around player. He is a slightly above average hitter, an excellent baserunner and an excellent defensive outfielder. But he is not worthy of being labelled one of the best players in the history of the game. There have been hundreds of players who were a LOT better than Ichiro Suzuki.
Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury are also highly overrated for many of the same reasons.
Ichiro's stats are majorly skewed by his last 3 seasons when he could just as easily be retired (ages 37-39). A number of his prime years he was still in Japan.
Looking at what Ichiro was before normal aging took over (and his current abilities are still pretty adequate for a 39 year old), he was good for a .380 OBP, legit GG defense, and was a top baserunner. Ichiro averaged a tick over 5 WAR from 2001-2010. That would have ranked him as being about the 20th best player in baseball last season, and was able to sustain that level of production up until the age decline. There's certainly few guys who are able tp provide that level of production year in and year out. Is he a first ballot guy? No, because IMO he is hurt by tge fact he started late, but based on his real abilities, he certainly deserves a spot one day.
You're right in the fact he probably could have been more patient, and he probably was an overrated hitter due to this fact, but he had real strong batted ball ability, and was very productive in using his abilties (not everyone has to approach an at-bat like Votto to be successful).