LOOK: Ichiro's spray chart with all 3,000 of his MLB hits tells a wonderful story

Marlins outfielder, international treasure, and future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki (Ichiro!) of course recently registered his 3,000 career hit in MLB. Ichiro, rather famously, has elite contact skills and a "hit 'em where they ain't" kind of swing that's both impossibly distinctive and conducive to putting the ball all over the field. By now, said swing should be on a steady loop in your waking dreams ...

It's the load and setup that we think about when we think about Ichiro's swing, as he winds up in a pretty classic hitting position at the point of contact. Anyway, tools and mechanics combine to yield the following spray chart, which you'll find to be lovely in its implications ...

Ichiro's @MLB career spray chart ... a thing of beauty.

A photo posted by MLB ⚾ (@mlb) on

That, people, is knocking the ball all around the yard. Particularly impressive is the way Ichiro peppers the infield with his batted balls. A lot of lefty hitters are candidates for the infield overshift, but you obviously can't get away with that when Ichiro is at the dish. The even distribution of his singles and doubles is really remarkable. For instance, since 2002 -- the back end of batted-ball data on FanGraphs -- Ichiro has hit 31.3 percent of his batted balls to the pull side, 35.3 percent up the middle, and 33.4 percent to the opposite side. Let me know if you can suss out any predictable tendencies in those numbers.

As you move higher up the power hierarchy, you see stronger pull tendencies, but nothing that allows a defense to do anything more reactive than playing him straight up and hoping. As for the home runs, he's definitely a pull hitter when swinging for the downs (to the extent that he ever truly swings for the downs). But wait! Check out this lonely dinger ...


Yep, there's the only opposite-field homer of Ichiro's career to date. A perusal of his Baseball-Reference home run log reveals that he hit it on June 29, 2002, against Mike Hampton of the Rockies. So good work, Mike Hampton, in enabling something that hasn't happened before or since.


CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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