Takanori Suzuki

From BR Bullpen

Takanori Suzuki (鈴木 尚典)

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 187 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

The number four draft pick of the Taiyo Whales in the 1990 NPB draft, Takanori Suzuki became a starter after the team was renamed the Yokohama Bay Stars, first playing the outfield regularly in 1995. Suzuki's best years were '97 through '99, when he hit over .325 each season with 15 or more homers - .335/.399/.546, .337/.408/.512 and .328/.395/.502 in order. In '97 Suzuki led the Central League in batting average (while namesake Ichiro Suzuki led the Pacific League) and made the Best Nine squad for the first time.

Both Suzukis repeated as batting titlists in 1998, Takanori edging Tomonori Maeda by two points. He also was third in OBP (behind Hideki Matsui and Bobby Rose), third with 92 runs, second with 173 hits (one behind leader Takuro Ishii, second with 6 triples and third with 87 RBI. He again made the Best Nine and with Rose, Ishii and Kazuhiro Sasaki helped lead the Bay Stars to their only Japan Series to date.

Suzuki fell to third in batting in '99, behind Rose and Koichi Sekikawa. His 110 runs were second to Koichi Ogata and his 178 hits were second to Rose. His 6 triples were one off the pace, but he was fading.

In 2000 Suzuki fell under .300 (.297, with 20 HR) though his 32 doubles tied for second in the Central. He returned to .315 in '01 (4th in the league), fell to .282 in 2002 then had his last good season in '03 when he hit .311/.351/.488.

Suzuki fell drastically the next two seasons, hitting .267/.313/.343 and being benched much of the year in favor of Takahiro Saeki. By 2005 Suzuki was mostly pinch-hitting (taking the field just 5 times in 65 games), batting .215/.267/.253 as his skills were rapidly fading. The 34-year-old surprisingly bounced back a bit the next year with a .329/.349/.537 line in 82 AB and 61 games and didn't even play the field, being used only at pinch-hitter except in interleague play when Suzuki was the club's most-used DH, playing there 8 times, twice as often as anyone else.

In 2007, Suzuki batted .232/.292/.329 in 237 AB and 90 games, his most significant playing time in years.

Through '04, Suzuki's career line was .309/.369/.470 and ranked in the top 10 in Nippon Pro Baseball for career batting average by a player with over 4,000 AB. He will be remembered as a solid contributor for the Bay Stars for almost a decade and a player who for a few years was the top contact threat in his league, a good offensive player.