Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki living up to lofty preseason expectations early on

The 29-year-old is looking more and more like the offensive centerpiece Chicago hoped for when it signed him before the 2022 season.
Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

When you hit the ball hard, good things happen. Thankfully, for the Chicago Cubs' Seiya Suzuki, he's been doing that a lot early on in 2024, picking up right where he left off last season at the dish.

We're just one week into the season and Suzuki has already recorded the hardest-hit ball of his MLB career, a 115 MPH home run earlier this week at Wrigley Field. That's especially encouraging given the near-complete lack of ideal hitting conditions in Chicago when hitters usually heat up as the summer wears on and temperatures rise.

Cubs offense will go as far as Seiya Suzuki carries it this season

Suzuki struggled in Saturday's loss, going hitless and punching out twice, but still carries a .313 average and .941 OPS into the rubber match against the Dodgers. Taking a look at his Baseball Savant page is the stuff dreams are made of. It seems like he's finally found the balance between being selective at the plate and punishing mistakes - Suzuki ranks in the 95th percentile in hard-hit rate and chase rate.

Early on in his career, no one questioned his eye. But he was taking too many hittable pitches and his patience led to him getting down in the count more than the Cubs would have liked. Now, he's become far more aggressive early in the count and the results speak for themselves.

Suzuki is using the entire field and not forcing the issue in at-bats, and he's looking like a dark horse MVP candidate who's more than capable of carrying an offense into October. Now, had we not seen these adjustments go into effect last summer, I'd probably take what he's done early on this season with a grain of salt. But clearly, it's all clicked for the Cubs outfielder and I'm buying stock in what he's doing at the dish.