Friday, March 5, 2010
30 A's in 30 Days – Kurt Suzuki
Acquired: Drafted in second round (2004).
Contract: One year thru 2010. Eligible for arbitration after 2010.
Position: Starting Catcher
Projected BA/OBP/SLG: (.275/.335/.405)
Over/Under: Suzuki's one of the better young catchers in the game not named "Joe Mauer". Yet, somehow, he's still the most overrated player on the A's. The local media is partly to blame, as stories like this have been rolling like a snowball down a hillside of increasing hyperbole. Last season, on May 1, Suzuki's slash line stood at .352/.397/.493. From May 2 until the end of the season (536 PAs), he hit .263/.301/.411.
The A's have had a hand in the hype, too. Suzuki's played 141 and 135 games, respectively, at catcher over the last two seasons. He was clearly wearing down as last season wore on, but the A's continued to be stingy with the days off. I think he'll just barely hit the OVER on that projection. However, he'll have to turn around his OBP, which dropped more than 30 points from 2008 as he lengthened his swing to increase his power.
By the Numbers: 8 – That's where Suzuki's .734 OPS placed among American League catchers last year. He's done a commendable job with a young pitching staff, but can we stop the "second best catcher in the AL" talk, A's fans and beat writers? Arguably, he wasn't even the best catcher in the AL West last year.
Surefire 2010 Prediction: Despite the obvious erosion of his baseball skills, the A's trotted out Jason Kendall every day from 2005-2007. As Suzuki enters his offensive prime years, there's every reason to expect Kendall's - Kendall's! - team record for games caught in a season (147) to fall.
Tupac Track for the Season: Old School