#10, Steven Kwan, OF

AgeAcquired2021 Level:HeightWeightBats/Throws
242018 Draft, 5th Round, Pick 29Triple-A Columbus5’9170LeftLeft

2021 stats

PAAVG/OBP/SLG2BHRRBI SB/SBAK%/BB%ISOwRC+
341.311/.1512446/891.%/10.6%.199154

Steven Kwan 2022 scouting report and grades

HitPowerRunDefenseArmOverallRiskMLB ETARoster Status
704055555055Low2022On 40

Build & Background

Compact, thin build in a small framer. Kwan is athletic though his body type doesn’t stick out on the field, or even off of it. He does have some thickness in his build in his lower half. Cleveland took Kwan out of Oregon State after his standout run in the College World Series with Oregon State, though he missed some time with a leg injury at that point. He was hampered by a hamstring issue in 2021, limiting his playing time and Cleveland wanted him to work on some strength and flexibility in order to mitigate further injuries. 

What Kwan does well

In two words – make contact. A lot of it. Seriously, Cleveland has had a lot of players with elite bat control over the last 10 years. Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez and Tyler Freeman are the more prominent names with bat control and stand out hit tools. Kwan might have a better feel for contact than all of them. He swung and missed just 2.6% of the time in 2021. That’s not a typo. It was the LOWEST in all of baseball in 2021. He makes a lot of contact and last year it was more impactful contact. He embraced pulling the ball more in 2021 and lifting it more, which led to a spike to 12 homers up from a minor league career total of three prior to 2021. He doesn’t produce elite exit velocities, but he can manipulate the barrel with great hands to get to more pop than he should. He doesn’t have even average raw power but could come close to producing average power numbers (roughly 20 homers). In addition to the bat skills, Kwan has an elite eye  at the plate, so when he’s not making contact, he’s drawing more walks than swings and misses. It’s an incredibly impressive and surprising package. Beyond the bat skills, Kwan is an instinctual defender that can handle any of the outfield spots from that stand point. He’s not a burner but should be a better runner on the bases than he has been to this point in his career. He might profile best in left, but he can handle center and right. 

Where Kwan needs to improve

There is a chance Kwan can outperform his raw power numbers thanks to his hit tool and embrace of pulling the ball and lifting it, a la Jose Ramirez. Still, his exit velocities are nothing special, so how firm his over the fence power can be is still up in the air. It’s not really a “weakness” but it was new for him in 2021 in a somewhat limited sample, so we’re waiting to see how much of it he can repeat. Though he has above average speed, Kwan hasn’t utilized it well on the bases. He was 11/18 on steals in 2019 and ran just eight times total in 2021, but that might have been due to his hamstring issues. That is another question mark for the 24 year old. He had a leg issue in college and this popped up last year. As mentioned, Cleveland really wants to see him work physically to guard against this issue. Kwan’s arm is about average, really not suited for full time action in right field, though he can play there if needed. It just won’t be a big tool for him from that spot.

Intangibles

We’re not sure who put the bug in Kwan’s ear to start turning on inside pitches and lifting them, but the chance in approach shows his ability to take that idea and put it into game use, which is absolutely a plus in coachability understanding how to optimize his skill set. In conjunction with his approach change came a stance adjustment, standing upright more vs. a squad he had in 2019, which aided his ability to lift and pull. Adjustability in all this is a great sign in a players profile and makeup.

Future

As you can see, it has been a quick rise for Kwan. After 2019 he was looked at as a fourth/fifth OF type. Now there’s a good chance he hits enough to be an average regular in the outfield, even if he doesn’t produce the kind of power needed from a corner outfielder. Neither did Michael Brantley. Heck, Jose Ramirez didn’t produce corner bat type power in 2016 either but was an above average offensive performer. There are other ways to be an offensive asset as a starter in a corner than hitting 25 homers. Kwan might top out at 20 homers and a handful of steals, maybe into the double digits. But the chance to be a .300 or better hitter and get on base at an extremely effective clip thanks to his batting eye. You combine that with average or better defense in left or center and you have an unorthodox average everyday regular who can hit at the top of the order and contribute in a number of ways. 

Role: 50 – Average everyday OF

2021 rank: #42

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