Seiya Suzuki hit the ball blisteringly hard in his return to the Cubs

(Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

The final outcome didn’t go the way the Cubs hoped for on the Fourth of July, thanks to old friend Victor Caratini, but man, it was so good to see Seiya Suzuki back out there doing his thing.

The Chicago outfielder went 2-for-4 in his long-in-the-making return, including an absolutely bonkers go-ahead inside-the-park home run off Josh Hader late in the game that was, hands-down, the most exciting moment of the 2022 season for me personally.

But what Suzuki brought to his at-bats goes far beyond just that home run. As our friends over at Bleacher Nation pointed out on Twitter this morning, he was driving the ball with authority each time he stepped in.

Now, you won’t find Suzuki on many leaderboards on either the sabermetrical or traditional sense because of the amount of time he’s missed on the year, but he’s done a lot of things right to this point. The rest of 2022 is about him continuing to counter the adjustments the league’s pitchers have made and setting a foundation for success heading into next season.

Cubs: Seiya Suzuki has the tools to completely change this team

Despite his ice-cold stretch prior to hitting the IL, Suzuki still boasts a 123 OPS+ on the year. For a Cubs lineup that has sorely lacked pop outside of Willson Contreras and Ian Happ (both of whom could be traded in the next three-plus weeks), his return will provide a shot in the arm offensively.

"“It’s nice getting him back,” David Ross told “Getting him back in the lineup deepens everything, pushes some guys down a little bit. I thought that guys have been swinging the bat really well and having some quality at-bats. The young guys that have come up have done a really nice job of keeping the line moving. But when you get a guy like Seiya back who’s got a real track record, when he’s hot, he’s as good of a player as we have.”"

We know all about the low-level talent that’s thriving in the Cubs system right now. But if Jed Hoyer’s team is to avoid another drawn-out, painful rebuild, they’re going to need guys like Suzuki to find solid footing sooner rather than later. You can sell free agents on the future all you want, but they’re all going to be looking for some sort of a supporting cast that’s already in place.

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For the Cubs’ part, they’re hoping Suzuki can be that – and if the limited sample size we’ve seen so far in 2022 is any indication – he looks up to the challenge.