Baseball’s biggest story of the first week of the season

Steven Kwan is taking the major leagues by storm.

The Guardians’ rookie outfielder is off to one of the best starts to a career – statistically – in baseball history.

Kwan followed up a historic Sunday – in which he went 5-for-5 and reached base six times in his third career major league league game – with another history-making effort on Monday.

Thus far, Kwan has already etched his name into the record books when it comes to a rookie debut. It’s only four games, but Kwan has so far been baseball’s toughest out, which is saying something considering the person waiting in the on-deck circle while Kwan bats is Jose Ramirez.

Guardians home opener:Teams announces 29th consecutive sellout

MLB overreactions:Five significant (or not!) Takeaways from opening weekend

Kwan through four games has become the first player since at least 1901 to reach base 15 times in that span, according to Sarah Langs of mlb.com. That is such a torrid pace that extrapolated to 162 games, he’d reach base 607 times. And at one point on Monday, he had reached base in nine consecutive at-bats.

Kwan is also one of only three qualified hitters (Eloy Jimenez, Ryan Jeffers) to not yet have a single swing-and-miss, and he’s the only one who has done so with at least 20 swings (26). He also did not strike out during spring training, meaning he hasn’t struck out as a professional since Sept. 26 of last season with Triple-A Columbus.

In Sunday’s game, he became the sixth player since at least 1901 to record a five-hit game within his first three career games and just the second since World War II, joining Yermin Mercedes (2021), Cecil Travis (1933), Red Massey (1918), Jack Dalton (1910) and Judge McCredie (1903). He reached base six times in that game, as he was also hit by a pitch.

Kwan through four games is now hitting .692 with an OPS of 1.789. Through four games, a 24-year-old rookie outfielder getting his first taste of the majors has been baseball’s most productive hitter.

Monday’s game offered the first glimpse of Kwan making a mistake, though he almost immediately made up for it at the plate. A defensive miscue in which Kwan could not catch a fly ball in left field brought home a run for the Royals.

The next time he stepped to the plate, which happened to be with the bases loaded, Kwan roped a bases-clearing triple to right field that ended up being the difference in Monday’s win. The storybook beginning to his career continued.

The Royals have tried multiple approaches as to how to attack Kwan. None of worked. And even Kwan’s rookie mistake only led to his biggest hit thus far.

Cleveland Guardians' Steven Kwan hits a three-RBI triple during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Monday, April 11, 2022 in Kansas City, Mo.

“He was doing to do it a little too fast and it hit the heel of his glove, but then his at-bat was terrific,” manager Terry Francona told reporters in Kansas City. “They tried to elevate yesterday. They tried to throw him off-speed today. His at-bats are really, really good. That’s stating the obvious. I bet there’s a lot of player development people who have their chest out right now, as And I know we’re four games in, but every single one of them kept saying ‘Hey, he’s going to be OK, man.’ So I know they’re proud. “

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button