Kwan's cheerleaders looking pretty smart right about now

You can forgive fan sites for pumping up prospects. You know the team-centric blogs that crank out postings on seemingly every minor leaguer in the organization, leaving readers to sort through the hyperbole. You might have seen commentary like "I can’t wait to see Player X get an opportunity to shine. Some of the best baseball players in history don’t have elite tools; they have elite consistency."

When Player X reaches the majors with 15 career minor league home runs and 88 RBIs in 217 games, I forgive you for not completely buying what the fan blog in question is selling.

But when Player X turns out to be Steven Kwan, who starts his big league career on a 9-for-13 tear, after having hit .469 in 32 spring training at-bats, maybe it's time to tip our caps to Covering the Corner, SBNation's Cleveland Guardians community.

When naming Kwan the organization's No. 11 prospect over the winter, the site said this, among many other flattering things:

What I can believe in — slick-fielding outfielders with a knack for contact and an aversion to making outs. Kwan’s career minor league slash line is .301/.380/.438. That includes .328/.407/.527 between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He did not slow down much when he hit Columbus.

I’m going to say this exactly once: stop complaining about the Guardians failing to re-sign Michael Brantley if you cannot celebrate a prospect with a nearly identical skill set. We have become completely obsessed with power in the modern game and it is beginning to kill the sport.

Kwan was not an overly hyped prospect, even for a fifth-round pick (2018). Fangraphs listed him as its No. 49 talent in the Guardians system coming into the 2021 season. That was out of 49 players they bothered to write up. They haven't yet released their 2022 list, though it's a good guess he'll rank a bit higher this time around.

Of 2022 lists available, Kwan didn't appear in Baseball HQ's top 15 for Cleveland, nor Baseball America's top 10. In hindsight, they may wish he had.

Then again, time may prove them correct. Perhaps we ought to slow our roll. It's been four games. But it's a lot of fun to see a guy get out of the gate like Kwan has, even more so if you happen to have spilled some digital ink three months ago trying to convince the skeptics he was worth a look.

No comments:

Post a Comment