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Eminor3rd

Seiya Suzuki

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Superstar Carp RF Seiya Suzuki, long expected to be an eventual MLB player, is expected to be posted this offseason. He's having a monster, MVP-caliber platform season, fueled by an absolutely insane second half. Although they're currently in the midst of an improbable late season run that has brought them within shouting distance of third place (the NPB season doesn't end until the end of October this year because of the break they took for the Olympics), the Carp have been garbage for a few years now and don't look to be a threat any time soon, so it's an alright time to let him go. Logically, it seems like the perfect year to make the jump, and everyone I follow for news believes it will happen now.

The basics: He is currently in his age 26 season. He is right-handed batter with a slender, athletic build on a fairly wide-shouldered frame. It's a corner OF-only profile, but he's considered an average or better defender with a well above-average arm. He's an incredibly complete hitter at the plate -- the overall package is a middle-of-the-order run producer, but he stole 25 bases as recently as 2019. Despite being a slugger, his batting average is over .300 every year. It is not a stretch to consider him a 5-tool player, even though speed isn't REALLY his game.

A little deeper: His success is centered around his ELITE plate discipline. It gives him 400 OBPs every year, but that's mostly a by-product of what he's doing -- he forces pitchers to come into the zone and just abuses them when they do. The raw power is impressive, even though the bat speed (to my extremely untrained, unprofessional, and unqualified eye) doesn't seem to be elite. He makes up for the (perhaps) lack of elite bat speed by being VERY short to the ball and employing a whip-like follow-through that, combined with his coiled load and leg kick, I suspect generates the bulk of the power:

He is one of three current NPB hitters (the other two being Masataka Yoshida and Munetaka Murakami) that I consider legitimate, high upside MLB hitting prospects. Historically, it's been significantly more difficult for hitters to transition to MLB than for pitchers, and so it's difficult to ever be completely confident, but as far as experienced, MLB ready hitters go, this guy is about as promising a prospect as there is in Japan.

Questions/Concerns/Downsides/Risks: Am I right that the bat speed maybe isn't elite? Is the fact that he's an extremely advanced hitter something that bodes well for his ability to adjust, or does indicate a lack of remaining upside? He plays in the Central League, which is understood to be the weaker of the leagues in the current era (like the NL is weaker than the AL).

It is of course rare for the White Sox to even dip their toes in the NPB market, but given the years-long hole in RF, it certainly could be fun to dream/speculate.

Stats: https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=suzuki001sei

A random homer highlight comp:

 

Edited by Eminor3rd
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Normally I'm out on most of the guys you bring up as posting (though I love the posts), I'm very in here. Does he hit the ball on the ground 😁

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4 minutes ago, bmags said:

Normally I'm out on most of the guys you bring up as posting (though I love the posts), I'm very in here. Does he hit the ball on the ground 😁

Yeah, with the exception of Ohtani, this is definitely the most exciting hitter to be posted (assuming he is) in quite a while.

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Its too bad he isn't left handed, or he could be a perfect fit.

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All right, so what are the posting rules and potential costs for this player?

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5 minutes ago, Balta1701 said:

All right, so what are the posting rules and potential costs for this player?

An interesting question. Now that you mention it, I'm not sure there is even a currently active posting agreement. I might try to ask Jim Allen about that.

Also, like so many other things, the potential of a prolonged work stoppage could ruin this.

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Sounds like a great pickup. Yeah he's RH but I am okay with this and you can still add a lefty bat where appropriate.  

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sign me up

also, has Japan always had outdoor stadiums?  I always remember japanese baseball being played indoors for some reason, but after looking up some videos of this guy I found a ton of games played outside

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Aren't we committed to Colas and one other guy? I wonder if there's some team out there that has just completely blown the intl FA and has max money for him still. 

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1 hour ago, Eminor3rd said:

An interesting question. Now that you mention it, I'm not sure there is even a currently active posting agreement. I might try to ask Jim Allen about that.

Also, like so many other things, the potential of a prolonged work stoppage could ruin this.

All right, from this summary, it depends on 2 things. If he had been in the Japanese league for 9 years, he could be a true free agent and not subject to any posting fees, he could just sign a contract and come over. He doesn’t seem likely old enough for that?

If he was still young, he would be subject to a posting fee of up to $20 million, set by the team, and his contract would count against a teams international pool. This caught Ohtani because he came over early.

IF he has been in the Japanese league for 6 full seasons, long enough to qualify for free agency under MLB, but not the full 9 years for Japanese free agency, he would be subject to a posting fee negotiated with the team, but his salary would NOT count against a teams international pool. There does not appear to be a cap for salary offers in this case. This is where I’m guessing the current sweet spot is for this guy?

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/12/mlb-ratifies-new-npb-posting-system-formally-announces-shohei-ohtani-will-be-posted-today.html

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36 minutes ago, ron883 said:

Aren't we committed to Colas and one other guy? I wonder if there's some team out there that has just completely blown the intl FA and has max money for him still. 

Going to guess he is outside of the young range, so he doesn't apply to that pool 

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45 minutes ago, Balta1701 said:

All right, from this summary, it depends on 2 things. If he had been in the Japanese league for 9 years, he could be a true free agent and not subject to any posting fees, he could just sign a contract and come over. He doesn’t seem likely old enough for that?

If he was still young, he would be subject to a posting fee of up to $20 million, set by the team, and his contract would count against a teams international pool. This caught Ohtani because he came over early.

IF he has been in the Japanese league for 6 full seasons, long enough to qualify for free agency under MLB, but not the full 9 years for Japanese free agency, he would be subject to a posting fee negotiated with the team, but his salary would NOT count against a teams international pool. There does not appear to be a cap for salary offers in this case. This is where I’m guessing the current sweet spot is for this guy?

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/12/mlb-ratifies-new-npb-posting-system-formally-announces-shohei-ohtani-will-be-posted-today.html

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=suzuki001sei

Looks like he has been in the league for 9 years exactly. 

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Just now, Balta1701 said:

If that is true, then he would be a true free agent and not subject to a posting fee.

Get out there and sign that fucking guy, Rick! It's a shame he is a righty. The Sox desperately need to get more left handed. 

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Been strangely uninterested in anything White Sox for the first time in 20+ years. Been a weird week.  
 

I’ll try to contribute here with this question:  

Has he ever faced off against Ohtani or any other guys over his 9 years in Japan?  Specifically, did he ever take Ohtani deep 4 times in a game perhaps?

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It's a great idea but let's be realistic.  Yes, Jerry put out that kinda money for Robert but that was when the payroll was much lower than it's current 2022 estimated payroll of 155 Million.  Think Cubs with only 40 something committed to 2022, Yankee's, Dodgers, Angels or Seattle as his landing spots but he's not coming to the White Sox.

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He is the same age as Ohtani. His stats are really similar to Ohtani's when they were in the league together as 21 and 22 year olds. Ohtani with a slightly better OBP and average, Suzuki with more homers and slugging. 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=suzuki001sei

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=otani-000sho

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2 hours ago, joesaiditstrue said:

sign me up

also, has Japan always had outdoor stadiums?  I always remember japanese baseball being played indoors for some reason, but after looking up some videos of this guy I found a ton of games played outside

Off the top of my head, there are... four domes? Tokyo dome (Giants), PayPay Dome (Hawks), Nagoya Dome (Lions, which, look that place up, it's actually an OUTDOOR dome. A concrete bowl but with open walls. It's supposedly just miserable -- hot and extremely humid in the summer, freezing and drafty in the winter), and Sapporo Dome (Fighters). The rest, I believe, are outdoors. 

Also, interestingly, NPB teams typically play 20 or so games a year in "regional" stadiums that are in their general region but far enough from the main city that those people don't get into see them play easily. IIRC, only a few of the teams actually own their stadiums, so the relationship between the teams and the place they play is more like an events contract, so there's more freedom to "tour," but also far fewer revenue streams. The trend is, unsurprisingly, team are moving more in the direction of building and owning their stadiums to make more money as time goes on. 

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7 minutes ago, A-Train to 35th said:

It's a great idea but let's be realistic.  Yes, Jerry put out that kinda money for Robert but that was when the payroll was much lower than it's current 2022 estimated payroll of 155 Million.  Think Cubs with only 40 something committed to 2022, Yankee's, Dodgers, Angels or Seattle as his landing spots but he's not coming to the White Sox.

The Sox have the track record with Abreu and Robert. If they like him, you can't rule it out. 

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1 hour ago, ron883 said:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=suzuki001sei

Looks like he has been in the league for 9 years exactly. 

 

1 hour ago, Balta1701 said:

If that is true, then he would be a true free agent and not subject to a posting fee.

He only played 11 games for the top team in his rookie year, I don't think he's actually accrued enough service for international free agency.

Also, filing for free agency is not NEARLY the "automatic" move that it is in MLB. There are no guaranteed salary contracts in NPB (though there are "personal services" contracts that serve as de facto free agency guarantees); every player essentially independently negotiates a raise every season, and the team can refuse to offer them a contract at any time. When a player is eligible to file for free agency for the first time, the expectation is nearly always that they try to come to a deal with their current team first, and only go to free agency if that fails. When that happens, it's generally considered to be a falling out between the two parties. As such, there are only ever a handful of free agents each season, and sometimes there are no difference makers at all.

So, even if Suzuki was able to file for international free agency, it would be much more likely for both sides to amicably agree to posting as a parting. It's one of the reasons why the typical NPB "true free agent" is typically a past-his-prime star, because a lot of times those guys end up with big disagreements on salary.

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11 minutes ago, ron883 said:

He is the same age as Ohtani. His stats are really similar to Ohtani's when they were in the league together as 21 and 22 year olds. Ohtani with a slightly better OBP and average, Suzuki with more homers and slugging. 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=suzuki001sei

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=otani-000sho

Suzuki has been a far more advanced hitter the entire time (understandably, with the whole pitching thing). Obviously Ohtani turned out to be a generational talent, but at the time Ohtani came to MLB, I don't think anyone thought he was a better hitter than Suzuki.

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2 hours ago, Balta1701 said:

All right, from this summary, it depends on 2 things. If he had been in the Japanese league for 9 years, he could be a true free agent and not subject to any posting fees, he could just sign a contract and come over. He doesn’t seem likely old enough for that?

If he was still young, he would be subject to a posting fee of up to $20 million, set by the team, and his contract would count against a teams international pool. This caught Ohtani because he came over early.

IF he has been in the Japanese league for 6 full seasons, long enough to qualify for free agency under MLB, but not the full 9 years for Japanese free agency, he would be subject to a posting fee negotiated with the team, but his salary would NOT count against a teams international pool. There does not appear to be a cap for salary offers in this case. This is where I’m guessing the current sweet spot is for this guy?

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/12/mlb-ratifies-new-npb-posting-system-formally-announces-shohei-ohtani-will-be-posted-today.html

Thanks for digging that up. He's definitely not a international free agent at this time, so I believe the bullets at the end are how it will go if/when he's posted.

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8 minutes ago, Eminor3rd said:

 

He only played 11 games for the top team in his rookie year, I don't think he's actually accrued enough service for international free agency.

Also, filing for free agency is not NEARLY the "automatic" move that it is in MLB. There are no guaranteed salary contracts in NPB (though there are "personal services" contracts that serve as de facto free agency guarantees); every player essentially independently negotiates a raise every season, and the team can refuse to offer them a contract at any time. When a player is eligible to file for free agency for the first time, the expectation is nearly always that they try to come to a deal with their current team first, and only go to free agency if that fails. When that happens, it's generally considered to be a falling out between the two parties. As such, there are only ever a handful of free agents each season, and sometimes there are no difference makers at all.

So, even if Suzuki was able to file for international free agency, it would be much more likely for both sides to amicably agree to posting as a parting. It's one of the reasons why the typical NPB "true free agent" is typically a past-his-prime star, because a lot of times those guys end up with big disagreements on salary.

Eminor3d, I assume the whole posting fee thing is due to some agreement that MLB has with the Japanese league? Seems really shitty for players in Japan. 

Edited by ron883

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18 minutes ago, ron883 said:

The Sox have the track record with Abreu and Robert. If they like him, you can't rule it out. 

I guess I did rule the Sox out in my post, thinking about it longer and my answer remains the same, he's not coming to the Chicago White Sox.  Besides the money and 3-5 year commitment a signing like this would take, the front office is waiting on the cheaper Cespedes or Colas to make it in 2022-23.  Remember according to Hahn this team is built for "multiple championships".  I was born in 1959 so multiple championships for the White Sox is not in my vocabulary.

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