Will the real Seiya Suzuki please stand up? That is the question that Chicago Cubs fans have had for much of the past two seasons and it would seem he is trending toward being the player that he was at the end of the 2023 season.
Suzuki's struggles during the 2023 season were well-documented as between starting the season with an injury and struggling to close the first half of the season, the Cubs benched Suzuki shortly after the start of the second half.
Suzuki was the catalyst for the Cubs' offense during the final two months of the reason as he registered a 165 wRC+ in August followed by a mark of 196 during the final month. Suzuki's hot finish to the 2023 season has left many wondering if the version of himself at the end of the season is the version that will be prevalent moving forward.
The answer to that question is yes.
At least, that is what FanGraphs ZiPS projections for Suzuki's 2024 season want you to believe. Of all the position players projected for the Cubs, Suzuki is forecasted to have the highest OPS+ with 124. The projected slash line calls for .272/.352/.478 with a remarkable .205 ISO.
It was a question that Jed Hoyer was asked over the weekend about the adjustments that Suzuki made in 2023, with the Cubs' president pointing out an August 2 game against the Cincinnati Reds where the outfielder attacked his pitch early, albeit against a position player, and hit a home run. The point was that the Cubs were looking for Suzuki to be more aggressive.
While the Cubs remain interested in adding another left-handed bat to their lineup, Suzuki's emergence at the end of last season could be an important development as an impact bat would have emerged without the need for further financial or prospect commitment.