Among those of us who have no choice but to engage in gainful employment, “Work smart, not hard” remains sagacious advice. To be sure, “Work not at all and certainly not hard; heaven forfend working at all” would be better guiding wisdom, but the means to do so elude all but the most heavily trust-funded.
This naturally enough brings us to Cubs rookie cloutsman Seiya Suzuki. The terms of his contract presumably bar him from not showing up to games in favor of watching prestige television, which means working smart but not hard is the most prudent path forward for him. Lo, he is doing that like no other.
You see, Monsieur Suzuki at this writing has swung at just 30.2 percent of pitches presented to him by opposing tossers. While that’s not the lowest swing rate in MLB at this writing — Spencer Torkelson, Pavin Smith, and demi-god Juan Soto are just a bit south of Suzuki’s mark — it still stands out. You shall meet him on his own terms or not at all.
Suzuki at the plate is in some ways not unlike a Spanish cobbler who quite rightly prioritizes the observance of siesta time over having consistent working hours. “You are here to do business?” the cobbler says to the customer just as Suzuki says to the opposing pitcher. “Wait here while I decide whether my nap is over.”
This would still be an admirable approach to human existence
one that, in a metaphorical sense, involves summoning a coworker to your office for an immediate meeting and then going home for the day before that coworker arrives — even if Suzuki had not thus far been one of the best hitters in baseball.
The reality, though, is that Suzuki at this writing is slashing .400/.543/.960 with four homers in nine games and an NL-leading OPS+ of 321. Best of all, those bestowals have come in the marked absence of any Kevin Youkilis-grade grunting, huffing, and sweating. If Suzuki were a sales professional, then he’d hit his numbers by mid-morning and not return from lunch, instead opting to play video games in a hammock or lie in his yard.