Cleveland Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan is an absolute stud.
He’s a ball magnet.
A hitting machine.
A sensational rookie.
What a first month in the Bigs for Steven Kwan. #ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/m4B37U6SpQ
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) May 2, 2022
These are all things you know about the California native.
But what about the lesser knowns?
Here are three:
1. He Hates Striking Out
Maybe you knew this about Kwan.
And every other baseball player that has ever existed since Abner Doubleday didn’t invent baseball in a Cooperstown cow pasture.
But for Kwan, the strikeouts were something more.
“I remember when I was younger, every time I struck out, I would want to cry. So I think I just told myself, ‘I don’t like to cry, so I just won’t strike out.'”
To his credit, Kwan put his money where his bat is.
Through his first four games, he reached base safely 15 times.
Not only does Kwan avoid striking out, he flat out avoids strikes altogether.
It took 116 big league pitches for Kwan to swing and miss.
That, as you might guess, is rare.
Among players who debuted after 2000, it’s the longest such streak from a debutant, per Elias Sports Bureau.
2. Incredible Cast
Kwan has the luxury of playing with the strong bat of José Ramirez, an early leading AL MVP candidate.
But it’s not the first time Kwan has played with a stellar cast.
"Steven Kwan walked 'em off in the 10th." pic.twitter.com/wZvJLm8hx9
— DJDave👄 (@membersonlydave) May 5, 2022
Kwan arrived in the big leagues via Oregon State.
The Beavers 2018 team won the College World Series.
The team was star studded; it featured the Cubs’ Nick Madrigal, the Twins’ Trevor Larnach, and Orioles’ Adley Rutschman.
Rutschman, you may know, is the top prospect in all of baseball.
Even more impressive?
Kwan shared the lineup with them.
More than that, he batted leadoff in the 2018 season, ahead of all three future first-round draft picks.
Kwan knows what it’s like to win big and share the spotlight.
Can’t ask for much more.
3. Brand New Model
While Kwan did bat leadoff in 2018 for Oregon State, his spot wasn’t always a guaranteed one.
His freshman season at Oregon State was a disappointing one.
He was far from the consistent hit threat that he evolved into.
So after that freshman year, Kwan linked up with Tyler Graham for some help.
Graham was a player development coach at Oregon State, who joined his alma mater after a decade-long career in the majors.
Graham basically told Kwan his entire batting mechanics would have to change:
”Mechanically, it was all about slowing Steven down just so he could start seeing the ball even better. A lot of the stuff was without swinging, a lot of lane-training work. Just throwing balls and balls out of the machine without swinging, just working on his timing.”
Kwan never missed a day of practice.
He hit the cages hard and returned for a sophomore season in 2018 that turned his coaches’ heads.
It was those offseason reps that propelled him to the leadoff spot.
And, more importantly for Cleveland, those reps improved his game such that pro scouts finally took notice.
The rest is history.
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