As part of the A’s Year in Review here on Swingin’ A’s, we now will reflect upon A’s catcher, Kurt Suzuki, and what kind of year he had in 2010. Last year, Suzuki led the A’s with 88 RBIs, and belted a career-high 15 home runs. So, going into this season, I think it’s safe to say that A’s fans had high expectations of Kurt for 2010.
Suzuki proved himself as one of the brightest young catchers in the game in 2009, and the A’s were highly optimistic that their backstop would become a leader not only on offense but on defense as well. The A’s featured a young rotation heading into this year, and Suzuki was a main reason why the A’s rotation showed tremendous growth and maturation this season.
Guys like Trevor Cahill (18-8, 2.97 ERA) and Gio Gonzalez (15-9, 3.23 ERA) really benefited from having Suzuki behind the plate, who has become one of the more reliable backstops in the game. Suzuki started as catcher in 123 of the A’s games this season. As a result of his determination and talent, Suzuki led the A’s staff to a team ERA of 3.56 (4th in baseball) and 103 quality starts (1st in baseball). The A’s staff as a whole improved this season, and pitching should be the team’s primary strength heading into the future.
The Cal State Fullerton product struggled on the offensive side of things this year, however. In 131 games, Suzuki hit .242/.303/.366 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs. His numbers were down considerably across the board from last season when he hit .274/.313/.421 with 15 home runs and 88 RBIs.
Suzuki was sent to the 15-day in May, and return shortly thereafter, but his hitting never really became consistent. He rode hot and cold streaks throughout the season, and his best month of the year came in June where he hit .292/.320/.510 with six home runs and 17 RBIs. He started falling off the rails during the last two months of the season. He finished the month of September with a .226/.305/.301 batting performance.
Heading into this season, I had high expectations for Suzuki, especially after he led the team in RBIs in 2009. The A’s catcher, however, fell well short of my expectations. His performance this season was not awful, not by a long-shot, but it just wasn’t what many people were expecting out of him.
The A’s signed Suzuki to a four-year deal, which is great simply because it shows that the team is serious about locking up their core-talent for the immediate future. The A’s also locked-up ace-in-the-making Brett Anderson to a four-year deal as well this year. Suzuki will be back next year at backstop, and hopefully he’ll be able to build off this season in a positive way.