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Did Washington Nationals’ catcher search end with Kurt Suzuki signing?

Kurt Suzuki put up a combined .239/.297/.344 line with 16 doubles and eight home runs in 122 games and 445 plate appearances for the Washington Nationals in 2012-13.

Playing for the Minnesota Twins between 2014-16, the then-30-to-32-year-old backstop put up a solid .263/.316/.364 line with 75 doubles and 16 home runs in 368 games and 1,355 PAs.

Over the last two seasons, with the Atlanta BravesSuzuki put up a .276/.341/.485 line with 37 doubles and 31 home runs in 186 games and 697 PAs.

Suzuki, now 35, talked after signing a 2-year/$10M deal in D.C. about his offensive numbers over the last two seasons in Atlanta, and what if anything he could identify that’s made the difference for him at the plate.

“Honestly, I have no idea,” the 12-year veteran admitted. “Just being honest.

“I obviously started my career off doing pretty well, then kind of hit a little slump, and the last two years, at age 33 and 34, kind of had a kind of like a renaissance, I guess.”

Did he change anything or make any adjustments?

“I really haven’t changed much,” Suzuki said. “I go out there and I don’t really think about launch angle or all these analytical things, I go out there and I just try to do some damage, and whenever they throw me a pitch that I think I can do damage with, I swing.

“I try to just battle up there, put a good at bat together. Obviously pitchers are throwing a lot harder now, so you don’t have to do as much. I just try to stay loose and just let the pitcher supply the power.”

A reporter on the conference call with Suzuki this week asked about the fact that he was pulling the ball even more than he has previously in his career, up to 48.8% and 52.6% in 2017-18, respectively, from a career average of 42.9% of the time.

He also posted the highest hard-contact percentage (Hard%) of his career in each of the last two seasons (33.3% Hard% in 2017 and 38.7% in 2018) and he put up his highest Line Drive% in 2018 (23.2% LD%).

 

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