Monday, September 11, 2017

Pete Rose with minor league hits, still leads Ichiro Suzuki by 83 hits.

I can't believe this still comes up but during the Yankee game tonight in Citi Field against the "home" Tampa Rays, Yankee announcer Micheal Kay again stated that the hits by Ichiro Suzuki, both in Japan and in the U.S. major league, exceed those of Pete Rose. Once again Kay misses the obvious.
Ichiro could pass Rose but what hits should count? Friday, August 9, 2013
... when it comes to passing Rose why does Ichiro get credit for minor league hits but not Rose?
Rose was not considered to have reached 4,000 hits until he had 4,000 in the majors.  His minor league hits did not count.  Now if we are going to count minor league hits for Ichiro it seems only fair that we should do the same for Rose.
Pete Rose had 427 hits in D and A ball in 1960, 1961, 1962.  Even if you eliminate the hits in D ball Rose still had 178 in A ball in 1962.
Major + Minor = Total Hits:
Ichiro: 3,073 + 1,278 = 4,351
Rose: 4,256 + 178 = 4,434

Ichiro needs 83 hits catch Rose this season. It's unimaginable that he could get them in 2017. Ichiro has only 167 at bats in 2017 and only 19 games remaining. He'd need a hit in every at bat and still would probably fall short. He'll need to return to Japan and continue to play next year at age 44.


Chris Chardon said...

Your reasoning would only be valid if Japanese professional league BB were at the same level as US minor league. But it's not. While it might be argued that JBB isn't at the same level as the majors in America, it's clearly -- clearly -- head and shoulders above the US minors.

There's plenty of evidence for this, but all you have to do is look at the records of Rose and Ichiro themselves. In Rose's first two years in the majors, he batted around .270 and got about 150 hits per season. Compare that to Ichiro's .337 or so and 225 hits. Clearly, the US minors did not prepare Rose for the majors as well as Japanese baseball did Ichiro.

If you want to say that Ichiro was 27 when he came in, and that that conferred some type of advantage, you can take Rose's stats for when he was 27-28. In this case, the two athletes come out about the same, Ichiro with a few more hits and Rose with a slightly higher BA. But all that would mean is that Japanese BB prepared Ichiro as well for the majors as actual Major League play did Rose. So again, JBB is clearly of a higher level than the US minor leagues.

I agree that, technically speaking, major league records are major league records. But trying to say that stats from Japan shouldn't be allowed because the level of play isn't as high, or that they're only comparable to the US minors, is silly. Plenty of athletes come from Japan and compete at a very high level right off the bat in the Majors nowadays. So if we're going to talk about the all-time best hitter, Ichiro's name should probably be at the top of the heap.

Kenneth Matinale said...

I don't even like Pete Rose and have excoriated Rose in several posts over the years.

Rose jumped from D ball to A for one season and then to the majors, which may account for his "slow" start. Rose was, however, Rookie of the Year.

As mentioned I counted only the hits got in his one season of A ball, none from D ball.

I am no expert in Japanese baseball but it's my general understanding that no responsible person considers it as good as U.S. major league ball but maybe more similar to U.S, AAA.

What HITTERS from a Japanese league have been great in the U.S. majors? Ichiro's value is in getting on base, since he does not hit for power. His on base average is .3555, tied at:
547. Debs Garms (12) .3555 L
Jeff Kent (17) .3555 R
Ichiro Suzuki (17, 43) .3555 L
Ben Zobrist (12, 36) .3555 B

Ichiro gets a lot of singles. That's it. Oh, Pete Rose is number 218 with .3751. In U.S. majors OPS+:
Rose 118; top three: 158, 152, 147
Ichiro 107; top three: 130, 129, 126.

What's silly is suggesting that Ichiro Suzuki was a great hitter.

Kenneth Matinale said...

OPS+ career:
Rank Player (yrs, age) Adjusted OPS+ Bats
1. Babe Ruth+ (22) 206 L
2. Ted Williams+ (19) 190 L
3. Barry Bonds (22) 182 L
4. Lou Gehrig+ (17) 179 L
5. Rogers Hornsby+ (23) 175 R
6. Mike Trout (7, 25) 173 R
7. Mickey Mantle+ (18) 172 B
8. Dan Brouthers+ (19) 171 L
9. Shoeless Joe Jackson (13) 170 L
10. Ty Cobb+ (24) 168 L

420. Pete Rose 118

807. Ichiro Suzuki 107

Chris Chardon said...

Well, let's see:

Rose was RoY. So was Ichiro.

Some of Ichiro's records:

Most consecutive seasons leading the league in hits: 5 (2006–2010)
Most games with one or more hits, season: 135 (2001)
tied with Wade Boggs (Boston Red Sox, 1985) and Derek Jeter (New York Yankees, 1999)
Most seasons with 200 or more hits: 10 (2001–2010)
Most consecutive seasons with 200 or more hits: 10 (2001–2010)
Most hits, two consecutive seasons: 474 (212 in 2003, 262 in 2004)
tied with Ty Cobb (Detroit Tigers, 248 in 1911, 226 in 1912)
Most games with five or more hits, season: 4 (July 29 (13 inn.), August 3, September 4, September 21, 2004)
tied with Ty Cobb (Detroit Tigers, May 7, July 7, July 12, July 17, 1922)
Most batting streaks of 20 or more games, career: 7 (2001 (2), 2004, 2004–05, 2006, 2007, 2009)
tied with Ty Cobb (Detroit Tigers, 1911, 1912, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1926, Philadelphia Athletics, 1927)

Additionally, he's number 22 at the moment on the all-time hit board (just counting MLB hits). He's gotten over 3000 hits in just 17 seasons; the only other guy in the top 50 with only 17 seasons is Albert Pujols...and he's six years younger.

But, Ichiro's not a great hitter. LOL, okay.

I wouldn't consider myself an "expert" on Japanese baseball either, but I do live in Japan and follow the sport. Plenty of older/second-tier major league players come over here to eek out a few extra seasons (Reggie Jackson comes to mind) and do "okay". They would still destroy Triple-A ball in America...but they do averagely well here. The stars in Japan (not just hitters, but pitchers as well) go to America and do about as well there as they did in Japan. In Ichiro's case, he led the league here in hits and fielding, and then went to America he did the same thing there. So if American MLB is higher than Japan's majors, it's not that much higher.

Again, I wouldn't say that Japanese baseball, overall, is quite at the standard of American major leagues (and there's really no way to tell unless you have Japanese teams play American teams for something worthwhile). What is clear is that it's much, much higher than any minor league in the USA.

Kenneth Matinale said...

All you listed were totals except:
10 seasons with at least 700 plate appearances
Leading in at bats in all but one of the seasons in which he also led in hits.

I think he led in singles in 10 seasons.

OPS+ of 107 means seven percent above league average. You may quibble about bias in that towards slugging average but adjusting might add another 2-3 points. Obviously, Ichiro Susuki was not a great hitter in the USA.

Oh, and Reggie Jackson never played in Japan.

Alex Potts said...

Are you also adding the hits Ichiro had in the ni-gun minor leagues in Japan? Would seem only fair, if you're looking to make an apples to apples comparison...

Point being, Ichiro has more 'major league' hits than Pete Rose at this point. NPB is a major baseball league, whether you choose to recognize it as such or not.

Alex Potts said...

156 is the exact number you'd want to tack on to Ichiro's overall total to make an exact comparison, by the way

Kenneth Matinale said...

Minor league hits:

Rose: just his one season in A ball, from which he went to the majors.

Suzuki: no Japanese minors, only Orix Blue Wave in the Japan Pacific League.

The real point of my post was to point out a double standard. Ironically, none of the comments addressed the best point for Ichiro: Rose didn't play above A ball in the minors. AAA hits for Rose would be a much stronger case. The Yankee announcers I mentioned never even considered including any minor league hits for Rose.

When you click "show minors", you see stats for Japanese baseball. About 30 percent of his professional hits above Japanese minors are in the JPL.

Alex Potts said...

So, why not include my other post where I explicitly mention the 156 hits Ichiro tallied in the Western League - the minor league for NPB's Pacific League? You seem to deliberately sidestep my point here.

I don't know if your animus is driven by an ignorance of the structure of Japanese professional baseball or something else...

Regardless, your dismissal of Ichiro's accomplishments is patently absurd - quite loony!

Kenneth Matinale said...

I don't recall seeing such a post. None has been deliberately excluded. Regarding ignorance and loony: hits are a dumb way to judge a batter. By any reasonable measure, what Ichiro did in USA batter's boxes is less than ten percent above league average. He was not a great major league batter. Deal with that and not any relative merrits of baseball in Japan.

Aside from Ichiro, when a Pete Rose fans says that Rose had the most hits, I say he also had the most outs.

Chris Chardon said...

Well, if the major league record is what's being talked about, why *would* you discuss the minors? Doesn't make any sense.

Look, neither Rose's nor Ichiro's performance is really in question. They're both great players. The only real issue here is whether Japanese major league baseball is at a similar standard to American MLB. I think that if you look at the performance of the Japanese players going to America, and the American players coming to Japan, there is a very strong case to be made that it is.

And you're right, Jackson never did play in Japan. (Don't know what I was thinking there.) But the list of good MLB players who have played here-- Alex Cabrera, Goose Gossage, Cecil Fielder, Julio Franco and many others--and done, overall, about as well as they did in America, is quite long. So I think the point stands.

Chris Chardon said...

"Regarding ignorance and loony: hits are a dumb way to judge a batter."

Nice little sidestep you did there. How about using the word you've been using all along this thread instead?

"...hits are a dumb way to judge a hitter."

You do see how silly this sounds, I hope.

Kenneth Matinale said...

In USA major leagues Ichiro Suzuki had more hits than Babe Ruth. To then say that Suzuki was a better hitter than Ruth would be silly.

First paragraph of my post dealt with Yankee announcer Michael Kay bringing up career hits. I never suggested that hit totals was a good way to judge a hitter.

Alex Potts said...

'Better' in the sense here is a very subjective descriptor - feel free to use it however you please. Also feel free to value whatever metric you wish - you seem to value OPS+ a lot (cool!). Was Dave Orr then a 'better' hitter than Willie Mays? (See how silly this all starts to become?)

To say Ichiro is a better hitter than Babe Ruth ... huh? I mean, I probably wouldn't think so, but it depends so much on perspective. Ruth's totals are higher here, Ichiro's totals are higher there. It's all beside the point! No one is making this comparison but you.

The reality that Ichiro has a particular number of top-flight hits, and a certain numbers of single-season and career records, is the reason for his celebration both in the United States and Japan (to say nothing of the aesthetic quality of his play in the age of the home run!). Why this celebration of an accomplished baseball player seems to threaten so many people - particularly in the US - I can only begin to guess!

Kenneth Matinale said...

So what hitter is Ichiro better than? Use whatever criteria you want. That's a good criteria for Hall of Fame: of current members who played in recent decades, who is better than? If a player is being added to the bottom, then think long and hard.

And before you whip out an -ist word, take a deep breath and consider that Ichiro is celebrated in the face of near universal repudiation of batting average as "leading the league in hitting" and as any valuable stat for judging hitting. Hit totals, is simply a function at bats. The "threat" is to more enlightened analysis.

Unfortunately, batting average even at this late date is still so ingrained that even iconoclasts simply go along with the presumption and feel good story that Ichiro will be elected to the U.S. Hall of Fame. The all too obvious reality is that Ichiro was a king of singles. It's amazing that with his speed he couldn't even stretch some singles into more doubles.

Rank Player (yrs, age) Singles Bats
1. Pete Rose (24) 3215 B
2. Ty Cobb+ (24) 3053 L
3. Eddie Collins+ (25) 2643 L
4. Cap Anson+ (27) 2614 R
5. Derek Jeter (20) 2595 R
6. Willie Keeler+ (19) 2513 L
7. Ichiro Suzuki (17, 43) 2501 L
8. Honus Wagner+ (21) 2424 R
9. Rod Carew+ (19) 2404 L
10. Tris Speaker+ (22) 2383 L

His claim to fame is how often he reached base but:

544. Leon Durham (10) .3556 L
Reggie Jackson+ (21) .3556 L
Davy Jones (15) .3556 L
Matt Stairs (19) .3556 L
Ichiro Suzuki (17, 43) .3556 L

Your celebration is unwarranted based on the facts. Stick to facts and not innuendo. And no guessing.

This has gone beyond tedious. Subject closed.

Alex Potts said...

My point is 'better' in terms of overall comparison more often than not amounts to 'favorite'. I personally think high-volume singles hitters like Ichiro are more fun to watch than high-walk/power/K hitters like, well, most hitters nowadays! What exactly is so horrible at celebrating an individual who has proven himself to be consistently brilliant at the speed/infield hit/etc. aspect of the game?

More often than you'd wish, when I run across people who are so adamantly against celebrating Ichiro's baseball career as being worthy of placement alongside other singular baseball talents (i.e. HoF), it comes from a place of ingrained cultural nationalism and American exceptionalism. If this is not the case here, I truly do apologize for presuming - there are just so many people like that nowadays, sadly.

Best wishes!

A/J said...

Maybe someones could say MLB is better than NPB, and some others stuffs... i will not ague that but if we want to find scales as to benchmark them... Japaneses have 2 baseball World Cups...

At the same time then if they are good enough as to do that, and we have 25% players from latino countries, including a 1 World Cup ring from R.D.,,, then caribbean winter ball, npb and mlb should be almost same good.

Kenneth Matinale said...

Ichiro's best season OPS+ was 130. Among batters who qualified for leading the league in batting average 1903-2018, 2,586 batter seasons had OPS+ of at least 130.

Kenneth Matinale said...

Kenneth Matinale said...

Kenneth Matinale said...

81% of Ichiro's hits were singles.

Alex Potts said...

"81% of Ichiro's hits were singles"

Yes, and that's amazing!

Why the negativity? Broaden your horizons! Have more fun - that's what baseball's there for!