So we know that Ichiro's been on fire lately, what with getting 49 hits in May and 47 so far in June. But how good has he actually been? Let's take a look.
(#s per fangraphs, not including today's play)
He is so ridiculously good it's unreal. Prorating those numbers to a 154 game season gives 7.2 wins above replacement. If we ignore the injury and give him the 8 games he missed back, the total goes over 7.6. His season so far, especially considering that he started on the DL, is utterly absurd. Ichiro's getting hits like it's 2004 - except for the fact that his slugging percentage has been flirting with .500 for so long that they're about to get settled down and start a family. And this is all after putting up his worst season in three years in 2008.
Last year he hit .310/.361/.386, which led to some premature calls to trade or bench him. After all, you don't want your offensive powerhouse slugging like a bad middle infielder, and it's not like he drew a tonne of walks either. This year, Ichiro listened intently to calls for improved patience from the fans and proceeded to shove them up our collective ass. He's somehow managed a .405 OBP while drawing 5(!) unintentional walks, and it's not like he's being put on base by the opposing team all the time either. He's already at 110 hits, and could probably have made a run at Sisler again were it not for that unfortunate stomach ulcer which forced him to miss eight games in April.
Defensively, he's as good as ever in right field. Comical misplay last night aside, he's running around out there like he's five year's younger, and has even indulged in a few slides to catch balls he started several zip codes from. His 6.1 UZR is despite Ichiro running a negative arm rating for the first time since 2002, which I'm more than content to blame Rob Johnson for. Apart from minor things (like his arm and baserunning issues), Ichiro is having a perfect season. If Griffey being around is giving us happy Ichiro, and happy Ichiro is giving us this, I'm more than happy to keep Jr. around as the tickling coach next year.