Cleveland Guardians OF Steven Kwan off to incredible start
Rookie outfielder Steven Kwan is already doing things not seen in baseball’s modern era. Not a bad start to a career, huh?
Whatever your expectations were for Guardians rookie outfielder Steven Kwan, he is no doubt surpassing them.
Kwan is not only off to one of the best starts in franchise history, but he’s had one of the best three-game stretches to begin a career in all of major-league history. He has a ridiculous eight hits in ten at-bats to go along with three walks, which means he’s been on base for 11 of his first 14 plate appearances.
This incredible stretch was capped off by a five-hit game in Sunday’s 17-3 rout of the Royals. In terms of having a five-hit game within your first three career games, it’s a feat matched by Yermín Mercedes of the White Sox last year and… nobody else after 1933. Kwan is also the first player in American League history to reach base safely more than ten times in his first three games (no NL player has done this since 1901).
Oh, and he’s yet to swing and miss.
The ridiculous stats and historical references like that continue, but the fact remains Steven Kwan has had about as incredible a start to his career as you can imagine. And nobody is saying an .857 OBP is going to hold up obviously, but Kwan has the makeup of a player that suggests he could be an excellent hitter in the majors moving forward.
Where Does Steven Kwan Go From Here?
In our initial profile of Kwan, we highlighted his incredible eye at the plate (his 9.1% strikeout rate was the fifth-lowest in the minors last season), along with a slight adjustment to his swing that has helped him generate more power. And despite an approach that more and more people started noticing in 2021, you just never how how that translates when faced with major-league pitching.
It’s already safe to say Kwan will fit right in.
It’s clear manager Terry Francona and the rest of the Guardians coaching staff see the same thing in Kwan. It was a bit of a departure from past team philosophy to give the rookie the Opening Day nod in right field, and it was even more of a departure from Francona’s typical methodical lineup configuring to immediately move Kwan into the two-hole by the second game.
And with the way that’s already working out, Kwan might never hit anywhere else in the lineup ever again. Once Franmil Reyes gets going, the top half of the Guardians’ order really starts to shake out nice; moving Amed Rosario to the fifth spot lengthens the lineup just a bit more. Not to mention that through Sunday, Rosario had also not swung and missed at a pitch yet.
Kwan will certainly go through tougher stretches in his first season – he has to, right? – but letting the rookies play like this will make the Guardians are a far more exciting team to watch this season. They’ll go through plenty of ups and downs, but Kwan is already giving fans hope for an even brighter future for this team.