Ichiro Suzuki played in his 12th game for the Yankees in a 6-2 win over the Mariners on Sunday. Just like in the first 11, he had exactly one hit, no walks and no strikeouts.
That makes for a few oddities:
– His hitting streak with exactly one hit in each game is the longest since the Dodgers’ Willy Aybar had a 13-game streak in 2006. The Cardinals’ Ted Sizemore has the longest such streak since 1970, going 16 straight games in 1975.
– Dating back to his last game with the Mariners, Ichiro has now gone 13 games without a strikeout, the third longest stretch of his career. He went 15 games without a strikeout in both 2004 and 2008.
– The walkless streak doesn’t rate so high on the list. At 13 games without a walk, he’s merely tied for the 10th longest streak of his career. He went 25 games without a walk early on in his rookie season of 2001 (hitting .375 during the span). Also, he had streaks of 19 and 17 games without walks earlier this season.
– However, to go without a strikeout or a walk for 13 games is a new milestone for him. His previous long there were nine-game streaks in 2001 (during his career-high walkless streak) and 2008 (during his career-high K-less streak).
– At 12 games, he’s now tied with Don Slaught (1988) for the longest hitting streak to begin a career for the Yankees.
– Ichiro hit .261 in 402 at-bats for the Mariners this season. After 46 at-bats for the Yankees, he’s likewise at .261.
The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.