Cleveland Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan had an incredible rookie season that ultimately saw him finish third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting with a Gold Glove to boot.
It was well-earned, as Kwan slashed .298/.373/.400 with six home runs, 25 doubles, seven triples, 19 stolen bases, 52 RBI, and a 124 OPS+. Oh, and he had an insane Outs Above Average of 12 while in left field. But perhaps the most impressive aspect of Kwan's first season in the big leagues was his incredible eye at the plate.
Kwan had the second-lowest strikeout rate (9.4%) in all of baseball, second only to Minnesota's Luis Arraez, who had a ridiculous 7.1% K rate. As you might expect, Kwan had elite chase and whiff rates as well.
So with all of that being said, even as he sits in the 100th percentile of some of these stats, there is one other stat that makes one think we've seen just a taste of Kwan's true potential. And here it is: Kwan led all of baseball in the most called strikes against left-handed hitters on pitches outside of the zone.
And it wasn't even really close. Kwan had 60 called strikes against him outside the zone this past season, with New York's Anthony Rizzo coming in second with 41. Maybe it was just because he was a rookie, but one has to figure Kwan's going to be getting more of those calls moving forward as umpires know him better.
Or maybe we should just bring in the robot umpires...