Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has reached double-digits in home runs only three times in his career, and hasn’t done it since 2009 when he was 35 years old. Yet Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds is adamant that Ichiro could win the Home Run Derby if he wanted to.
Deadspin directed readers to this YouTube video featuring an interview of Bonds. He said:
He hits more home runs than anyone in batting practice. Every day. I told him, I had a talk with him the other day. I said, “You gotta stop hitting all these home runs.” He says, “Why?” I said, “Because you’re wasting them in practice. We want you to hit a home run in a game.” I think he hits all his home runs in batting practice so he can get all his hits [in games].
[On Ichiro in the Home Run Derby]
I think he’d win. Easy. Hands down. That’s just his style. He likes to get the bat head through the zone. He likes that comfort zone. That’s how he plans himself and he knows — there’s very rare hitters that know what they want to do and he’s one of those guys who knows exactly what he’s doing.
That Ichiro could be a power hitter if he wanted to isn’t a new assertion. It’s been part of his mythology since he came into the league. As you can see in the above clip, it doesn’t seem to take much effort at all for Ichiro to plant a homer 25 rows deep in right field. Bonds’ claim isn’t that outrageous.