The legend of Steven Kwan continues to grow with elite historic company

Steven Kwan has continued to turn heads since the start of his MLB career with the Cleveland Guardians, but his latest achievement has him in a class with the only other member being Hank Aaron.
Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Guardians
Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Fans of the Cleveland Guardians are rather familiar with the talent that Steven Kwan possesses. He burst onto the scene in 2022 with an insane start to the season, and now, two years later, he's making history once again. The season is still young, but through 17 games, Kwan has put his name in a class that has just one other name. Hank Aaron. 

So far this season, Kwan has logged 29 hits and scored 18 times. Both numbers were leading Major League Baseball entering play on Wednesday but now rank fourth and third, respectively. The impressive start is rare. Since 1983, he's just the seventh player to do it joining George Brett (1983), Rickey Henderson (1988), Kenny Lofton (1997), Larry Walker (1997), Matt Kemp (2012), and Charlie Blackmon (2020). He's the first Cleveland player to ever do it, as well. But where does Hank Aaron come in?

Kwan's accomplishment is obviously impressive in itself, but the age at which he's doing it is what makes it even more special. Since 1930, covering 94 years of baseball, a player 27 years old or younger has tallied 18+ runs and 29+ hits in the first 17 games of the season just three times. Steven Kwan in 2024, Hank Aaron in 1959, and Hank Aaron in 1957. Kwan is the only player to do it not named Hank Aaron, one of the greatest to ever play the game. And at 26 years old, he could hypothetically do it twice, like Aaron.

The accomplishment is nothing short of spectacular. Joining any list that includes Hank Aaron is usually promising, but to join a list with only Hank Aaron is elite. There's no other word for it. While this might come as a shock to some, this isn't Kwan's first time flirting with history.

An impressive beginning for Steven Kwan

The legend of Steven Kwan really started from the first time he put on a Cleveland Guardians uniform. In 2022, Kwan saw 116 pitches before his first swing and miss of the season and of his career. The feat put him on a shortlist for the last 20 seasons, logging the eighth-most pitches over the span. It also broke the record (since 2000) for most pitches before a swing and miss to start a career.

It wasn't just Kwan's ability to make contact but his plate discipline as well. During his first six career games, he reached base a staggering 19 times, becoming just the second player since 1901 with that many. Jay Bruce reached 20 times in the first six games of his career in 2008. That was the only total higher. When you go beyond career and look at just the start of a season, Kwan was one of four since 1901, joining Brady Anderson (1997), Von Hayes (1989), and Mel Ott (1945), all with 20.

It's not just at the plate either, as Kwan has already established himself as one of the best fielders in the game. Now in his third Major League season, Kwan already has two Gold Gloves in his trophy case, winning in each of his first two seasons. For his career, he has a .987 fielding percentage with a total of nine errors on 669 chances.

Despite all the accolades, Kwan is still flying under the radar in MLB landscapes. He isn't grabbing headlines even though he tops the stat sheets. Perhaps it's because he plays in Cleveland and not New York, Boston or Los Angeles. Whatever the reason, Kwan has more than earned more attention than he's currently receiving for his accomplishments this season.

The only remaining question here is, what's next? Kwan has proven time and time again that he has the skills needed to make history. Whether it's in the field or at the plate, he's putting up a rare combination of stats. His discipline and vision at the plate make him one of the hardest players to get out at the plate. Once on the bases, the IQ continues to shine, and in the field, his glove is second to none. At just 26 years old, the future is very bright for Kwan in Cleveland, but to fans of the Guardians, that's old news. Now it's just fun to see the next record he chases or list he joins with baseball royalty, like Hank Aaron.