Cleveland Guardians: We could be witnessing a special season from Steven Kwan

Cleveland Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan currently leads all of baseball in hits with 22. Is there an AL batting title in Kwan's future?
Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Guardians
Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Steven Kwan had a "disappointing" sophomore season in 2023, if only because most expectations were sky-high after his tremendous rookie campaign.

Still, though, Kwan hit .268/.340/.370 with five home runs, 36 doubles, and seven triples, with 21 stolen bases and a 100 OPS+. Not bad at all, right?

But Kwan is on another level to start 2024, and it looks like Guardians fans could be in store for a special season from Cleveland's left fielder.

Diving Into Steven Kwan's Great Start

Heading into Thursday's action, Kwan leads all of baseball in hits with 22. His Statcast profile is a glorious sea of red, and his current .386 batting average has the .400 fanatics out there salivating. Kwan is one of the few players out there who could conceivably even think about such a mark, though that's not a conversation to have for months, if at all.

That being said, Kwan's xBA is still a robust .340 and he already has eight multi-hit games this season, a mark achieved through the team's first 12 games by the likes of Albert Belle (1995), Lyn Lary (1937), Freddy Spurgeon (1926), and Tris Speaker (1918).

What is perhaps most encouraging is that Kwan is making better overall contact to start the year. His barrel rate is up substantially, up to four percent from a whopping one. He's not tearing the cover off the ball by any means, but it's clear Kwan is hitting the ball with more authority than what we've seen the past two seasons.

Can Kwan Keep Up This Pace?

It'll be very interesting to see how Kwan's power continues to develop over the season. Over his first two campaigns, Kwan has seen more pitches called strikes outside the zone than just about any other hitter in baseball. If that trend is curbed and Kwan is getting better pitches to hit inside the zone, it's conceivable he could finally hit double-digit homers in addition to maintaining an average over .300.

There's no reason to believe Kwan can't contend for the AL batting title. It has the makings of a fun chase to watch this season, but either way, it's clear Kwan has already taken a huge leap forward offensively in his third season.

Now... how about that extension?