Less than four weeks ago, Cubs right-fielder Seiya Suzuki made his Major League Baseball debut. Now, he’s already hauling in Rookie of the Month honors for his performance in April.
“This is the best pitching in the world, and you would expect somebody to struggle just a little bit,” Cubs manager David Ross said earlier this month, after Suzuki’s first player of the week honors, “and inevitably every player does, but so far, the fact that he’s gotten off to such a great start and we’ve faced really good pitching has been impressive.”
Partial-season awards are one thing on their own, but in Suzuki’s case, they represent a hot start as he’d made the transition from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball to MLB. And the qualities that the Cubs raved about when they signed Suzuki this spring to a five-year, $85 million contract — his power and sense of the strike zone — have been on display in the first month of the season.
Suzuki posted a .279/.404/.529 slash line last month with four home runs and 14 walks. He has one of the best April performances of any Cubs rookie all-time, ranked No. 4 in OPS (.934) and tied for No. 2 in extra-base hits (nine).
The award also positions Suzuki, a five-time All-Star in NPB, as the early frontrunner for NL Rookie of the Year.