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Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Ichiro Suzuki picked up three more hits tonight to make it 56 for the month, breaking the record of 54 set by Alex Rodriguez in 1996. It also puts him at 212 for the season with 31 games to go. He'll need to average 1.45 hits per game to tie the 1920 record of George Sisler. So far he's averaged 1.63 hits per game in the games he's played so its certainly within reach.

The bigger question is, how important is the record?

In one sense getting 257 hits in a season is a remarkable accomplishment. On the other hand for all of Ichiro's hitting he only ranks 14th in Value Over Replacement Player at 62.2 runs ranking behind J.D. Drew, Miguel Tejada, and Mark Loretta among others. Barry Bonds is tops at 117.8 in 115 fewer plate appearances. The simple reason is that Ichiro doesn't walk much, just 37 times thus far, and has only 34 extra base hits, a paltry 16% of his total. I heard it said the other night on ESPN's Baseball Tonight that Suzuki could hit for alot more power if he wanted to based on his performance in batting practice. If he really could turn on the power, he should.

Incidentally, the VORP leaders are a good indicator for who should get the MVP. The top 5 in the NL are:

Bonds 117.8
Pujols 79.5
Beltre 77.7
Helton 75.7
Edmonds 73.7

Nobody is even close to Bonds. Adrian Beltre is certainly making a run at it with his 42 homeruns but Bonds is still the most valuable.


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