Don’t get me wrong: I love Ichiro and want him to reach that milestone. He deserves it. However, the Yankees, traditionally chock loaded with stars, have been forced to reduce him to a role player in late innings at this time. In all fairness, they tried to put him in every game. But if you look at the stats, it’s interesting: in 20 games so far he has had a total of 39 at bats, averaging less than 2 at bats per game. In those 39 ABs he has 13 hits, translating to a .333 average. That’s very good even by Ichiro’s standards, and his on-base percentage looks like old times.
However, this also means that he won’t get the recognition he deserves, reaching the league leaders in hits and batting average like he should (too few at bats). At this pace, assuming that no outfielder gets injured to open a spot for him, he will end up at, say, 150 games, at 300 at bats, or essentially a half season worth of at bats. That leaves him up at 99-100 at bats, which will put him at 2,800 MLB hits. And, his skills won’t improve at this point of his career. He may end up at 2,700-2,800 hits, which is a shame since he’s so close, yet so far away.
I get it, though: Ichiro wants to win a World Series with a contender, hence the sacrifice in at bats and starting position. If he doesn’t, will he be second-guessing himself for wishing to be traded to the Yankees?