Cleveland Guardians outfielder has elite plate discipline and contact skills.
If he had any semblance of power, he would be a perennial All-Star.
Since he doesn’t, or at least hasn’t shown it in the bigs, he “settles” for being an above-average regular, which is a fantastic outcome for a 25-year-old rookie.
Kwan likes to stand very close to the plate, and umpires are punishing him for it by calling pitches that should be balls in the outside zone as strikes.
The sheer number of blown calls, however, is embarrassing.
“Most called strikes this year against left-handed MLB batters on outside out-of-zone pitches: Steven Kwan, 53; Kyle Schwarber, 37; Shohei Ohtani, 36; Anthony Rizzo, 36; Jake Cronenworth, 36,” Codify Baseball tweeted.
Most called strikes this year against left-handed MLB batters on outside out-of-zone pitches:
Steven Kwan, 53 😮
Kyle Schwarber, 37
Shohei Ohtani, 36
Anthony Rizzo, 36
Jake Cronenworth, 36
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) September 13, 2022
The good folks at Codify also uploaded a video of some of these blown calls, and some of them aren’t even close to being strikes.
He Has Excelled Despite Being Affected By Umpires’ Decisions
You can tell Kwan’s plate discipline is truly elite because he still has more walks (55) than strikeouts (51) despite the continued mistreatment from the umpires.
Imagine if they were fair to him on some of these calls: he would be nearly impossible to strike out!
Kwan’s debut season has been a resounding success.
He is slashing .292/.369/.383 with four homers and 14 steals in 537 plate appearances.
If he could get that slugging percentage to the mid-400s, his impact would be even larger than it already is.
However, if it means his contact and plate discipline will suffer, then the organization will probably want him to maintain his essence.
He is special because of those two traits, and they have taken him to a 3.1 WAR season in his debut year.
Not too shabby.