Guardians’ Steven Kwan joins exclusive club by taking on five hits against Royals in third MLB career



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Cleveland Guardians rookie outfielder Steven Kwan made history against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday by scoring five hits in his third game of his career.

Kwan, whose afternoon was part of a bigger attack by the Guardians scoring 17 runs, became the fifth player since World War II to have a five-hit game in their first five games in the Premier League. He joins a group that includes Yermin Mercedes (who did it last season with the Chicago White Sox), Gregory Polanco (2014), Mike Lansing (1993), and John Wehner (1991). Kwan also reached base on Sunday by being hit by a pitch.

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Kwan singled in midfield in the first inning. He singled to the left in the second. He then completed the hat-trick with a single to the right in the third inning. He reached on an infield single in the fifth inning and was hit by the aforementioned pitch in the seventh. Kwan came one last time in the eighth and doubled to the right to end his afternoon.

Kwan was one of CBS Sports’ breakout picks ahead of the season. Here was the explanation:

Kwan is not for everyone, but he is a fascinating candidate who should be given a shot in the Cleveland field. He split between Double- and Triple-A last season, hitting .328/.407/.527 with 12 homeruns and five more walks than strikeouts. Despite that impressive pace of production, he’s failed to progress on most prospect lists (with the exception of Eric Longenhagen’s at FanGraphs) due to concerns about translatability. Kwan is on the short side (he stands at 1-foot-9) and until last year he had rarely shown over-the-fence power. (His 12 home runs were another career best.) We’ve previously referred to the Sam Fuld-Brett Gardner spectrum on similar players — outfielders who lack pop while showing good contact and on-base chops — and it’s applicable here; there’s a chance that big league pitchers will feel unthreatened and pound him with punches, jeopardizing his attack area command and diminishing his offensive potential. Believers in Kwan cite his unreal bat-to-ball skills (in terms of making contact and hitting bats) and more juice as reasons for thinking he can make it work. Non-believers think he is probably a fourth or fifth outfielder. We won’t know for a while which side was the right one, but it’s not every day you have a non-top prospect that’s this interesting.

Kwan came in on Sunday with three hits in his first eight trips to the record. He had also run three times, giving him a nice .600/.750/.800 slash line in an extremely small sample.

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