Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the boppin’ bash for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’re so glad you could stop in for Mardi Gras tonight. We’ve planned the same stuff we’ve got every Tuesday night, but if you want to laissez les bon temps rouler with us this evening, we’re honored. Come on in and grab a seat. There’s no cover charge. Bring your own beverage.
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
Last night, I asked you who you thought would be the Cubs “best” reliever in 2023. Every pitcher got at least three votes, but the runaway winner was Keegan Thompson, who pulled in 46 percent of the vote. In second place was Adbert Alzolay with 17 percent.
Here’s the part where I talk about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.
In honor of Mardi Gras and New Orleans, birthplace of jazz, we have a performance from that New Orleans institution, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. This is another one of those NPR Tiny Desk concerts and to be honest, it’s a Christmas performance from 2013. That explains the guy playing the tuba in a Santa suit. But honestly, this music is too timeless to be just a Christmas concert and anyway, it sounds more like Mardi Gras that Christmas to me.
This is just a reminder that you still have until Wednesday evening to vote in the semifinal matchup in the BCB Winter Noir Classic between The Maltese Falcon and The Postman Always Rings Twice. Then on Wednesday, the two other semifinalists—Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard—take on each other. No matter who wins that one, we know that Billy Wilder will have an entry in the finals.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and noir.
Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki has been the talk of camp so far, mainly for what he said in this interview:
Seiya Suzuki (through interpreter Toy Matsushita) on possibly recruiting Shohei Ohtani to the Cubs:— Ryan Herrera (@ryan_a_herrera) February 21, 2023
“I am inviting him.” pic.twitter.com/jhteoKeM5U
OK, that’s fun and all, but Ohtani isn’t going to come to Chicago just because of Suzuki. (Although it can’t hurt!) But I’m more concerned about Seiya Suzuki’s abilities on the field than as a negotiating go-between.
I think it’s fair to say that Seiya Suzuki’s rookie season was a bit of a mixed bag. Certainly, he had some trouble adjusting to the US and the differences between MLB and NPB. But on the whole, his numbers on the season weren’t bad. He hit .262/.336/.433 with 22 doubles, three triples and 14 home runs in 111 games. His bWAR was 2.0. That’s not great, but no one should be unhappy about it.
But a deeper look at the numbers tells a different story. Suzuki had a great start to his career in April and then struggled to adjust to the league after the pitchers adjusted to him. His month of May was terrible and then he missed all of June with a sprained finger. When he returned in July, he was better than he was in May but still just OK. But he got better as the season went on and had a great month of September before he left the team on paternity leave. It was a small-sample size, but it certainly looked like he was beginning to figure out major league pitching by the end of the season.
Now Suzuki has reported to camp after having added 20 pounds of muscle over the offseason. He’s also preparing to play for Japan in the World Baseball Classic, so he’s going to be leaving camp shortly. But I think it’s fair to say that a lot of the Cubs postseason hopes in 2023 rely on Suzuki going from a good player to a great one.
So tonight’s question is how many home runs do you think Seiya Suzuki will hit in 2023? He certainly felt that he needed to add some more strength to muscle out major league pitching. Do you think he’s on the right track?
Suzuki hit 14 home runs in his rookie season, but he also missed a little over a quarter of the season. Do you think that he can stay healthy for an entire season? Will his greater familiarity with MLB pitching pay off this season?
As a point of comparison, Hideki Matsui hit 16 home runs (in 163 games) for the Yankees in his rookie season in 2003. The next year, he exploded for 31 home runs. And Matsui was two years older than Suzuki was when he came over from Japan.
So how many will Suzuki hit this year?
How many home runs will Seiya Suzuki hit this season?
This poll is closed
30 or more
25 to 29
20 to 24
15 to 19
10 to 14
Less than ten
We’re so glad that you stopped by this evening. Go out and have a good time with what’s left of the evening. Get home safely and don’t get weighted down with beads. Stay warm. Tip the waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow night for more BCB After Dark.