Kurt Suzuki is putting up some impressive numbers that deserve recognition.
Eleven-year Major League Baseball veteran Kurt Suzuki has been nothing short of stellar since joining the Atlanta Braves in January 2017. Unfortunately, his play has been overshadowed due to the rise young superstars like Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr., the MVP caliber season Freddie Freeman is displaying, and Nick Markakis’ All-Star year. However, Suzuki’s efforts shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Since his arrival in the ATL, Suzuki’s power has resurrected from his early years in the MLB. A three-year stretch from 2009-2011 are the only seasons Suzuki has reached double-digit long-balls, averaging 137 games each year. Servicing as a backup catcher his first season, Suzuki hit a career-high 19 home runs in only 81 games. Once again, Suzuki is on pace to reach double-digit bombs, connecting with eight during 81 games in 2018. In order for Atlanta to continue their success, Suzuki’s bat is an essential ingredient to this lineup.
Not only has he delivered in that area at the plate, in 2018, Suzuki is second with a .350 batting average with two outs in an inning. His ability to manufacture hits and extended innings has been a huge lift for this Braves’ young line-up. In his 81 at-bats with two away, Suzuki has only struck out only 7.4% of the time. Adding to this, Suzuki is on pace to bat over .260 for only the third time in his career, twice with Atlanta. His presence at the plate only fuels the rest of the lineup, showing the youngsters that he still has game.
As the oldest man in the field, his veteran mentality benefits behind the plate as well. The 34-year-old from Hawaii has caught hundreds of different pitchers and his experience behind the plate helps these young Braves pitchers. His knowledge calling pitches releases some of the pressure from the pitchers, allowing them to think freely.