Cleveland Guardians: Get to know OF prospect Steven Kwan
The Cleveland Guardians are loaded with minor-league talent ready to break through to the majors. While it remains to be seen who ends up contributing in Cleveland in 2022 (and beyond), there are going to be plenty of new names fans will become familiar with – including outfielder Steven Kwan.
Getting to Know Cleveland Guardians Prospect Steven Kwan
Kwan, a fifth-round pick by Cleveland in the 2018 draft, really started to turn some heads in 2021, putting up a combined .328/.407/.527 line with 12 home runs and 15 doubles between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus while also walking more than striking out. In fact, the 23-year-old’s strikeout rate of 9.1 percent was the fifth-lowest of all minor leaguers with at least 200 appearances.
In other words, Kwan simply knows how to hit. And even though he’s only listed at 5’9″, he showed plenty of pop last season, hitting those 12 home runs in 296 at-bats; Baseball America has made note of a leg kick he’s added to get more into his lower half.
By all accounts, many scouts and writers seem to peg Kwan as a fringe major-league starter at minimum, while there are some out there who think Kwan could one day battle for the AL batting crown (a career .301 average in the minors will do that). Keith Law at The Athletic is also a big fan, as Kwan just missed out on his list of the top 100 prospects in baseball.
That being said, Kwan might never have exceptional power at the major-league level. But will that really matter if he’s hovering around a .300 batting average in his career? The Guardians have clearly made it their focus to develop hitters who have a high average, get on base, and rarely strike out. Kwan fits that mold perfectly, and if he manages to give the team 15-20 home runs a year, that’s just the icing on the cake.
Will Kwan Make the Opening Day Roster?
Kwan was added to the 40-man roster this offseason, due mostly to the fact that he was Rule 5 Draft-eligible and certainly would have been snatched up by another team. But there is a legitimate chance that Kwan could make the team out of spring training, no matter what the Guardians end up doing in free agency or on the trade market.
Even with only 120 plate appearances in Columbus, there’s just not much left for Kwan to prove in the minors. The Guardians surely wouldn’t mind him getting a few more at-bats in Triple-A, but if he comes out of the spring training gate firing on all cylinders, and knowing how thin the team is in the outfield, it’ll be hard to keep him out of Cleveland. It would be a bit of a departure from the Guardians’ usual strategy of essentially putting young position players in purgatory, but if there was ever a time to start bucking that trend across the board, this would be it.
No matter what, though, expect to see Steven Kwan in Cleveland by the end of 2022.