“Number 3-8,” Clement said. “Steven Kwan. Ever heard of him?”
As recently as a week ago, the baseball world hadn’t heard of him. Now he’s one of the most popular topics across the game. Kwan’s unbelievably patient approach and unmatched bat-to-ball skills grabbed the MLB spotlight during the first few days of his big league career, as he saw 116 pitches before whiffing (and even his “whiff” still made contact as a foul tip, although that’s considered a swing and miss). A few pitches later, he struck out for the first time since Sept. 26, 2021, with Triple-A Columbus — this is all including Spring Training.
What Kwan has done has captivated baseball audiences everywhere, especially a Cleveland fan base that didn’t have high expectations for compelling storylines such as this heading into the season. Yet Kwan took that challenge into his own hands, proving that he can not only help this lineup, but can also be a spark plug and an essential piece of the roster.
What’s been even more transfixing about this historic start to his career is the way the 24-year-old outfielder has handled each step of this process. He noted that the hardest part about the transition to the big leagues has been handling the media and the attention. But his maturity shines in each interview. He credits his parents for his success, rarely allowing himself to be the focal point and fully displaying his knowledge of how to prioritize his mental health.
For anyone still wondering what will happen when outfielder and first baseman Josh Naylor comes back from the injured list, I’m going to go out on a limb and say Kwan isn’t going to be sent down to Columbus.