Chicago Cubs News: Seiya Suzuki should be moved down in starting lineup
After an impressive rookie campaign with the Chicago Cubs in 2022, expectations were high for starting right fielder Seiya Suzuki entering the 2023 season--his second season in Major League Baseball.
The season got off to a disappointing start for Suzuki as he started 2023 on the injured list after suffering an oblique injury at the start of Spring Training. Suzuki returned to the Cubs' lineup in mid-April and manager David Ross has routinely penciled him in the middle of the lineup.
Suzuki did homer in his first game of the season against the Los Angeles Dodgers but has struggled overall. Through Suzuki's first 98 plate appearances this season, the right fielder is slashing .253/.337/.354 while posting a wRC+ of 89 and a wOBA of .305. Suzuki's power has also been non-existent as he currently has 1 home run on the season to go along with an ISO under .100.
Suzuki does not have the numbers of a hitter that should be hitting in the middle of the order and yet, he has only bat fourth or fifth this season with the Cubs. To further complicate matters for Suzuki and the Cubs, the right fielder has struggled with runners in scoring position. In 33 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, Suzuki is slashing .241/.333/.276 with a 68 wRC+ and a .272 wOBA. Suzuki is actually costing the Cubs runs with runners in scoring position as FanGraphs lists his wRAA (Runs above average based on wOBA) as -1.3.
If the Cubs are going to be true contenders in 2023, then the team is going to need Suzuki to perform better. If Suzuki continues to struggle with runners in scoring position, then the only option available to Ross should be to move the right fielder down in the team's lineup.