Seiya Suzuki (鈴木 誠也)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 182 lb.
- High School Nishogakusha High School
Suzuki hit 43 home runs in high school and his fastball was timed at 91 mph as a pitcher. He said he wanted to focus on being an outfielder to be like another Suzuki, Ichiro Suzuki. The Hiroshima Carp took him in the second round of the 2012 NBP draft. He spent most of 2013 in the minors but was called up in September. He made his NPB debut batting for Ryuji Yokoyama and was retired by Hirokazu Sawamura. He went 1 for 12 that year, his lone hit coming off Nobutaka Imamura. In 2014, he fared very well in limited time - .344/.382/.500 in 68 plate appearances over 36 games. His first home run came against Masanori Ishikawa. He hit .423/.516/.846 with four triples in the 2014 U-21 Baseball World Cup, joining Arnol Rizo and Yu-Ning Tsao as the All-Star outfielders. He tied Seung-ho Kang for the tournament lead in three-baggers.
He produced at a .275/.329/.403 in 97 games in 2015, beginning to see somewhat regular playing time at age 20. He blossomed in 2016. He hit .335/.404/.612 with 29 home runs and 95 RBI. He became the tenth player in NPB history to hit sayonara home runs in consecutive games and the second Carp player to do so, Kiyoyuki Nagashima having done it 32 years earlier. He was the youngest player to perform the feat. The next game, he hit another game-winning homer, becoming the fourth player to hit game-winning home runs in three straight games, following Hiromu Fujii, Akira Eto and Tadahito Iguchi. He made the Central League All-Star team. In 2016 NPB All-Star Game 1, he pinch-ran for the game's MVP, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. He stayed in the game in right field, Shun Takayama moving to left to replace Tsutsugo there. In his lone at-bat, he singled off Dennis Sarfate and scored on a hit by Yasutaka Tobashira with what wound up to be the winning run in a 5-4 victory. In Game 2, he started in right field and hit a sacrifice fly off Hideaki Wakui in the second. He singled off Kazuhisa Makita in the 5th and doubled off Kohei Arihara in the 7uth, scoring on a Tobashira double to start his NPB All-Star career 3-for-3. He flew out against Arihara his last time up in a 5-5 tie. He finished among the CL leaders in average (2nd, .009 behind Hayato Sakamoto), OBP (2nd, .026 behind Tsutsugo), slugging (2nd, .068 behind Tsutsugo), runs (76, 9th), hits (156, 8th, between Toshihiko Kuramoto and Tomotaka Sakaguchi), doubles (26, tied for 8th with Tetsuto Yamada), triples (8, tied for second with Yoshihiro Maru), home runs (5th, between Wladimir Balentien and Shuichi Murata), RBI (tied for 5th with Jose Lopez), steals (16, 7th), caught stealing (11, tied for third with Masayuki Kuwahara) and total bases (285, 3rd, behind Tsutsugo and Yamada). He won a Gold Glove (joining Maru and Yohei Oshima as the winners in the CL) and Best Nine (alongside Tsutsugo and Maru) and he helped Hiroshima win their first CL pennant in 25 years. He finished third in voting for the 2016 Central League Most Valuable Player Award behind Takahiro Arai and Ryosuke Kikuchi. In game 1 of the 2016 Japan Series, he scored the first run. He drew a walk from PL MVP Shohei Otani, advanced on a Tomohiro Abe and stole home on a delayed double steal. It was the first steal of home in a Japan Series since Shozo Doi in 1969. He hit .222/.389/.400 on the Series, with four runs in six games, as the team fell to the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Suzuki hit .214/.313/.214 in 14 at-bats as a part-timer for Japan in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, posting the lowest OPS of any Japanese player with more than 3 at-bats.