Cleveland Guardians: Steven Kwan could win the AL batting title in 2023
Steven Kwan had a sensational rookie season in 2022, hitting .298/.373/.400 with six home runs, seven triples, and 19 stolen bases while cementing himself as the Cleveland Guardians' leadoff hitter for the foreseeable future.
Oh yeah, and he won a Gold Glove out in left field, too.
So what is Kwan going to do for an encore in his second season in the majors? With his particular bat-to-ball skills, the sky could be the limit for him.
But since this is the spring and it's a time for endless optimism and predictions, let's put this one out there for Kwan: He's going to win the American League batting crown this season.
Steven Kwan Could Absolutely Win the AL Batting Title in 2023
It's not just Kwan's hitting profile that could win him the crown. The fact is, some of his biggest competition from last year has moved to the National League.
Minnesota's Luis Arráez, who won the AL batting title last season with a .316 average, was traded to the Miami Marlins this offseason as part of the Pablo López deal. And Xander Bogaerts, who hit .307 with the Red Sox in 2022, signed an 11-year deal with the Padres.
In terms of 2022 batting average holdovers, that leaves Aaron Judge as the only one left among the top three. That's not to say numerous other AL hitters had great years - Yordan Alvarez hit .306, Jose Abreu hit .304, Andrew Benintendi hit .304, and Nate Lowe hit .302 for the Rangers.
But the fact is, Steven Kwan is simply built to get hits, similarly to Arráez. And if we're going to get really granular here, remember too that no one - no one - in baseball had more strikes called outside the zone last season than Kwan. Now that he's a bit more established in the league, that's not going to happen again.
It's true that batting leaderboards are in flux each and every season, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better player to bet on than Kwan. After going through, really, just one major cold stretch in May of last year, Kwan finished strong and ended up hitting .303 from August to the end of the season. He was right there as a rookie, and he could absolutely get over the hump in his sophomore campaign.
It's just one of the many great storylines for the Guardians entering this season, and if you were take a gander at some prop bets for Cleveland this year, keep this one in mind.