Seiya Suzuki's early life, childhood and career in Japan

seiya in high school seiya in elementary school

Seiya used to practice with a special bat when he was little!

Seiya Suzuki(鈴木誠也 in kanji) was born on August 18, 1994 in Arakawa Ward, Tokyo. He started playing baseball in the second grade with the Arakawa Little team, and in junior high school with the Arakawa Senior team. Mr. Ishizuka, who was a coach for both teams, spoke about those days, "Seiya was big from the time he joined the team, and he was faster on his feet and threw the ball faster than other kids his age. He started playing in games with the upperclassmen even as a junior, and he quickly became well known in the community."

Ishizuka continues, "When Seiya was in elementary school, I told my wife, 'He might become a professional baseball player.' Once, when a former professional baseball player came to watch him practice, he looked at Seiya and said, 'This is the kind of kid who will become a pro.' I realized that even from a professional's point of view, he was really great."

According to Ishizuka, Seiya had been swinging a bat single-mindedly behind the factory since he was a small child. Even when it was not a practice day, Seiya never missed practicing tee batting on his own. To Seiya, who was such a practicing worm, Ishizuka made him a bat made of iron, which is thinner than the usual metal bats. This was because commercially available bats weighed about 3.3 to 4.4 lb, which was heavy for Seiya, who was an elementary school student.

Seiya repeatedly practiced hitting golf balls with this bat. At first he could not hit the ball well because he was not used to it, but after a little while he was able to hit it on the core. Through this practice, Seiya acquired the skills to look at the ball firmly without cutting his eyes and to hit the ball with the core of the bat without fail.

seiya practice hittng in elementary school seiya's special bat seiya with teammate in elementary school

Seiya himself said of those days, "I really don't know how good I was. I just enjoyed baseball. I just enjoyed throwing the ball far, hitting, and playing baseball with my friends." He continued, "When I didn't have practice, I would go outside and play baseball for fun with my friends. If I played video games, I played baseball games. And instead of operating the game myself, I enjoyed watching the computer play against each other, putting myself in the pitcher's and batter's mindset. It is a funny story now, but one day I was wearing a baseball helmet and watching the computer play against each other. My father was surprised to see me and said 'Are you crazy?' "

Seiya was well known in his hometown for his baseball skills, but on the other hand, he was a mischievous child. Even after entering junior high school, he was never an honor student. Although he was serious about baseball, he was often scolded by his school teachers for pranks and mischief. Furthermore, his grades at school were terrible. This was because Seiya's father used to say "Go running rather than studying." In the second year of junior high school, he scored 1 on a scale of 1 to 5 in all seven subjects except physical education and social studies. In the third year of junior high school, he worked hard to get into high school with a sports recommendation and managed to get around a 3 in all subjects.

Despite his poor grades in school, Seiya does not have a bad memory. When he entered high school, Seiya was a super-junior high school pitcher and received invitations from more than 40 high schools. However, Seiya went on to Nishogakusha High School without any hesitation after graduating from junior high school. This was because, when he was in elementary school, Ichihara, the manager of the baseball team at that high school, had invited him to come to our school when he became a high school student, and Seiya had not forgotten this invitation.

Manager Ichihara sensed extraordinary talent in Seiya from the first moment he saw him as an elementary school student. When he joined the baseball team as a high school student, he realized that Seiya would become a professional baseball player in the future. Seiya became a regular in the summer of his first year in high school. Even in games in which he played as a substitute, when manager Ichihara told him to "go hit a home run," he did as instructed and hit a home run.

seiya hitting in high scool seiya pitching in high scool

Ordinary high school students would tend to become conceited or loose, but Ichihara always earnestly explained his "attitude toward baseball" to Seiya. Ichihara told Seiya, "All the scouts know that Seiya can hit home runs and throw fastballs. They are more interested in your attitude toward baseball. They are looking at whether or not you can run as fast as you can at any time, whether or not you can bat with an even heart even when you have a chance, and that kind of attitude. So, let's be humble and sincere."

Seiya had the heart to accept those words with open arms. At times, he would hit a ball in front of the lights to steal second base, and he would run as fast as he could, almost reaching third base even on an infield fly out. In high school he learned the importance of humility and a good attitude toward baseball. However, he did not make it to the national tournament in high school, although he started playing in games as a freshman in high school. He also made it to the semifinals of a regional tournament in the summer of his senior year of high school, but lost 6-8.

However, Seiya was highly regarded by scouts from the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. This was because he threw a maximum speed of 92 MPH as a pitcher and hit a total of 43 home runs in a game as a hitter. Seiya was selected in the second round of the 2012 draft by the Hiroshima Carp as an infielder. He chose the number 51, the same as Ichiro(former MLB player), whom Seiya has admired since he was a small child and who also shares the same surname, Suzuki.

Seiya spent most of the 2013 season on the farm when he joined the team, but was promoted to the first team at the end of the year. He got his first professional hit in a game on September 16. He was on the farm for a long time in 2014, but got his first professional home run on September 25 when he made the first team.

Seiya began making more appearances with the first team in 2015 and became a regular right fielder the following season in 2016. In a three-game series in June, he hit two consecutive home runs in the first and second games, and in the third game, he hit a game-winning home run. His performance was described as "Kamitteru(He is out of this world.)" by the manager at the time. He finished the 2016 season with a .333 batting average, 29 home runs, and an OPS 1.016, helping the team to its first championship in 25 years.

seiyai hitting in Japan

Seiya was hitting well right from the start of the 2017 season, but injured his right ankle when he made a jumping catch of a batted ball near the fence in a game on August 22. At the hospital, he was diagnosed with an avulsion fracture and ligament damage that would take three months to heal, and he was lost for the rest of the season. The following year, in 2018, he was not injured and played in 124 games, hitting 30 home runs and contributing to the team's third consecutive championship.

Seiya changed his number to 1 in 2019 and played in 140 games, his most. He won the leadoff hitter award with a .335 batting average and the highest on-base percentage with a .453 on-base percentage. He fared a little worse in 2020, but still managed to hit .300 with 25 home runs for the fifth straight year. He didn't win the home run crown in 2021, but he did win the leadoff hitter award with a .317 batting average and the highest on-base percentage with a .433 on-base percentage. On November 21 of that year, he applied for the posting system and announced his intention to try out for the MLB. He signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs the following March.