Japan Series Roster Update
March 22, 2019
The days are getting longer.
The weather is getting warmer.
It’s baseball season.
This morning, the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics officially kicked off the 2019 season with a game in Tokyo. To celebrate the return of America’s pastime, we’re bringing you the first official R.B.I. Baseball 19 Roster Update. For those newcomers to R.B.I., each week we will release a roster update that best reflects the current state of the game. Players who performed well will have their attributes boosted to best reflect their past weeks success.
For the inaugural update however, we thought we’d do something special. To commemorate Ichiro Suzuki’s return to Japan, we’ve boosted his stats to reflect his 2001 MVP and ROY season! Interested in a little trivia? Who was the only other player to win both MVP and ROY in the same season? Check out the post to find out.
There isn’t a Major League Baseball player out there who wouldn’t want to hit over .300 over the course of a season. Ichiro Suzuki? He’s done that over a career. In his 18 years playing baseball, Suzuki has slashed .311/.355/.402. In his first 10 years in the league, the lowest batting average Ichiro had was .302 with his highest being a mind-blowing .372 in 2004. He’s swiped over 500 bags, thrown out countless runners with his cannon-like arm, recorded over 3,000 hits and provided highlight after highlight. To properly celebrate Ichiro’s return to Japan we’ve boosted his Contact, Arm, Fielding and Speed ratings to 99.
One thing standing in the way of Ichiro and the Seattle Mariners will be All-Star closer Blake Treinen. Last year, Treinen was not only one of the best relievers in the game, he was one of the best pitchers, too. Treinen ended the year with a 0.78 ERA, a 0.83 WHIP and an elite 31.8% K rate. The righty’s arsenal is comprised of three fastballs – a cutter, four-seam and sinker – and a wipe out slider. The latter of those pitches had a 29% swinging strike rate in 2018 which is pretty impressive when you consider that the league average swinging strike rate on sliders was 11%. Coming into the 2019 season we’ve given Treinen a 99 Curve rating.
While Manny Machado will not be making his Padres debut until Thursday, March 28th, we couldn’t wait to show off his new digs. Machado decided to bring his talents to southern California this past offseason. The All-Star will man the hot corner and likely bat 3rd for the Padres. While some worry about what Machado’s power output may look like in pitcher friendly Petco Park, the slugger finished 2018 with a 91.6 mpg average exit velocity. That number was good enough to be in the top 10% for all of baseball. Pair that with his top 6% 48.2% hard hit rate and we’re looking for it to be raining taters in sunny California.
There’s no two ways about it: Patrick Corbin has a downright filthy slider. Arguably the best slider in all of baseball right now, batters only hit a meager .148 off the pitch last year. While other pitches certainly helped Corbin reach a career high 11.07 K/9 and 30.8% K rate, it was the slider that did most of the work. The pitch ended the year with a 54.2% K rate. That means that over 50% of the time a PA ended with a slider from Corbin, it also ended with a strikeout. While Patrick Corbin doesn’t need to worry about hitters like Nolan Arenado or Justin Turner anymore, the NL East brings with it Bryce Harper, Robinson Canó and many other talented hitters. Does his slider have what it takes? We think so.
Speaking of dominant players in new locations, Andrew McCutchen finds himself in Philadelphia for the 2019 campaign. While there’s no official word yet, it appears that McCutchen could be leading off what is shaping up to be one of the most dominant lineups in the league. While the former MVP slashed .255/.368/.424 in ’18, his numbers increased when he joined the Yankees in September. In his final month of the season he slashed .262/.427/.488. That fantastic OBP came as a result of a 20% BB rate which was 2 ticks higher than his K rate on the month. If McCutchen can sustain those elite walk numbers, he should be scoring a lot of runs in Philadelphia.
We end the first roster update blog post of 2019 with another new face in a new location. Charlie Morton signed with the Rays this offseason. He brings to Tampa Bay a blazing four-seamer, a loopy curveball, and the potential for a lot of strikeouts. Morton wrapped up the 2018 campaign with a career low 3.13 ERA and career high 10.83 K/9. Not too bad for a guy with 11 years in the Bigs under his belt. While Morton is now going to be facing the likes of Mookie Betts, Aaron Judge and J.D. Martinez a lot more frequently than he’s used to, they’re also going to have to do their best against one of the better curveballs in baseball. We look forward to watching those matchups all year long.
Ready for more baseball? Us too! Join us next week when we bring you the Opening Day roster update! Oh, and by the way, the only other player to join Ichiro in having won both MVP and ROY in the same year? Fred Lynn in 1975.