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10/4/1983 (33 y, 4 m, 20 d)
2004 June Amateur Draft - Round: 2, Pick: 26, Overall: 67, Team: Oakland Athletics
$1.5M / 1 Years (2017)
Suzuki is expected to sign with the Braves. (1/21/2017)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Suzuki traded some patience for pop in 2009, expanding his zone and lacing more doubles and homers in the process. The Cal State Fullerton alumnus has drawn fewer free passes every season in the big leagues, walking in 10.1% of his PAs in 2007, 7.7% in ’08, and fewer than 5% in ‘09. His strikeout rate has also fallen, from 18.3% in ‘07, 13% in ’08, and slightly more than 10% this past year. Suzuki swung at less than 20% of pitches thrown outside of the strike zone in 2008, but offered at 26% of outside pitches in 2009. He also let it rip on nearly 67% of pitches within the zone, above the MLB average and well above his 60% mark from 2008. Swinging from his heels, Suzuki's OBP dipped 33 points, but his ISO increased from .091 to .147.
The Year Ahead:
The swap of walks for power was basically a wash for Suzuki, as his wOBA was .320 in 2008 and .321 in 2009. But fantasy owners will want to take note of his change in approach. In leagues featuring OBP as a category, Suzuki's more aggressive philosophy could dock his value slightly. But finding a backstop who can hold his own at the plate, particularly in deep mixed leagues or A.L.-only leagues, can be extremely challenging. The average MLB catcher batted just .254/.320/.395 in 2009, a testament to the taxing nature of the position. Suzuki might not rank prominently on catcher lists heading into the 2010 season, but you could surely do worse. (David Golebiewski)
With the signing of a long-term deal with Oakland, Kurt Suzuki is certainly going to continue being the starter at catcher for the Athletics for a while. Not having job-sharing expectations at catcher instantly makes him more valuable. Suzuki was one of only seven catchers last season to qualify for the batting title. Suzuki’s batting average dipped last season but based on his batted-ball rates (similar to years past) and a drop in BABIP, one should expect his average to bounce back. Suzuki has medium power for a catcher -- 10-15 home runs are a reasonable expectation -- and he will get you a couple steals as well. Neither of those makes him stand out. Oakland’s park and offense limit his run totals a bit, but his playing time overcomes that. Over the past three seasons, only Joe Mauer has scored significantly more runs than Suzuki has and only Mauer and Brian McCann have knocked in a sizeable chunk of more runs. (Matthew Carruth)
The Quick Opinion:
Kurt Suzuki is one of the more productive catchers in baseball and does not carry the reputation to match. I love the smell of arbitrage on draft day. It smells like victory.
If Suzuki is drafted in your league, it will be due to the fond memories of his 2009 campaign and not his recent years of mediocrity. The 28-year-old has not put up good fantasy numbers over the past two seasons, and he hasn’t showed many signs of coming back to form. Suzuki will provide owners with a handful of homers and a batting average around .250, but Oakland’s offense won’t allow the catcher to post good runs scored and RBI. He doesn't have enough power to make a real impact in those categories, and not enough speed to put up decent batting averages despite an ability to make contact. Meh. (Zach Sanders)
The Quick Opinion:
If Suzuki is drafted in your league, it will be due to the fond memories of his 2009 campaign and not his recent years of mediocrity.
Acquired by the Nationals in early August, Suzuki is set to take on the bulk of the catching duties in Washington. While he once showed promise as a backstop with some pop, that power disappeared last season as his isolated slugging percentage fell below .100 for only the second time, while his home run per fly ball rate was the second-worst of his career. He’s still just 29, so the power should bounce back somewhat, but the larger issue is his .271 career batting average on balls in play. He has a lot to work on to get himself back into the middle tier of fantasy catchers. (
The Quick Opinion:
The new Nats' catcher once displayed some power and with his good contact rate, hinted at potential batting average upside. But, with his power going MIA last season, while his contact rate dipped, he is now no more than a cheap option in two catcher mixed leagues with limited upside.
For the second straight season, Suzuki failed to recapture his power stroke. Most teams have figured out that he's not a full-time option anymore -- but not the Twins, who named him their starting catcher despite having more exciting younger options in house. He hasn't hit higher than .242 since 2009, and has clubbed just 11 home runs over the past two seasons combined. Suzuki has a reputation as a player who works well with pitchers, so perhaps his real-life skills make the decision a solid one for the Twins. Even if he does keep the starting job all year, though, there's no reason to start him on your fantasy team. (
The Quick Opinion:
Suzuki's days as a low-upside catcher are over. Well, he's still a low-upside catcher, but now the downside is so low that it's just not worth it.
The Twins signed Suzuki as a response to the declaration that Joe Mauer would not longer be catching (effective immediately), and the club didn't want to simply hand the reins to Josmil Pinto, who had mashed in September the year before but wasn't ready to handle a big league pitching staff. Fast forward a year, and still nobody knows what Pinto do, but Suzuki has inked an extension to stay with the Twins the next two seasons thanks to his best offensive season as a big leaguer. Suzuki hit .288/.345/.383, and not only made the American League All Star team, but managed to convince the Twins to keep him around rather than move him at the trade deadline. In retrospect, Suzuki probably took considerably less than he could have gotten on the free-agent market -- two years, $12 million with a $6 million vesting option for 2017 -- in exchange for a multi-year deal. He showed good contact skills and was an asset wherever the Twins hit him in the batting order, but he's certainly not out of the woods after an age-30 revelation. Suzuki hit just .259/.323/.339 after appearing in the Midsummer Classic, including OPSes of just .653 and .659 in August and September, and ultimately the Twins still probably have to find out what they have in Pinto -- assuming they don't already know. Suzuki's deal isn't so oppressive that he couldn't shift to a more part-time mentor role if he doesn't maintain his production, but it is perhaps a bit more than a strict backup catcher would make. Watch where this goes in the future, as the Twins don't have any catching prospects anywhere near ready behind Pinto. (Brandon Warne)
The Quick Opinion:
Suzuki's overall numbers look pretty good, but he was buoyed by a strong first half and sputtered a bit down the stretch. He appeared to have a short stroke and a good approach for contact for much of the season, but he provides next to nothing in terms of extra-base punch. For a back-end catcher in fantasy leagues that use batting average, Suzuki may possibly be an asset. Otherwise...look elsewhere.
The Twins made what appeared to be a good value play in nabbing Suzuki on a two year, $12 million deal last season. The position ended up being a wasteland for the team, as Suzuki combined with Chris Herrmann and Eric Fryer to post a combined offense that was 39% worse than league average, better than only the Mariners league wide. Now the Twins have brought in John Ryan Murphy to compete for the starting role and possibly shift the 32-year-old into a mentor/back-up position, and it's probably a reasonable move given Suzuki's average defensive skills and lack of offensive upside. Suzuki turned in a decent 2014, mind you, but his .288 batting average was lifted by a strong first half and an unsustainable .310 batting average on balls in play. That batting average on balls in play regressed to his career norm with a .265 mark in 2015, and with it went his average, down to .240. Considering he no longer hits the ball hard regularly, doesn't walk at an elite rate, saw a jump in strikeout rate, and is four seasons removed from displaying the power tool, there's not a lot to be enthused about here. If he wins the starting job outright, he'll be on the deep AL-only radar on account of plate appearances, but it's tough to see him cracking the top 25 at the position in mixed leagues. (Blake Murphy)
The Quick Opinion:
Suzuki saw a decline from a hot streak inflated 2014, returning to his previously established level of production. Without much pop and with a young catcher acquired to push him for playing time, Suzuki's days on the fantasy radar are probably over.
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Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:34 AM ET
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