Steven Kwan, Cleveland’s Mr. Contact, Talks Hitting

© David Richard—USA Today Sports

Steven Quano Having an excellent rookie season with the Cleveland Guardians. The 24-year-old outfielder is downing .297/.370/.382 with 118 wRC+, and he is doing so with elite plate discipline and contact skills. Quan’s 8.8% strike rate . is second to Luis Arrez8.3% of K is among qualified hitters, while his 22.6% O-swing% is tied for sixth-best. In addition, he is one of only a handful of hitters with more walks (36) than strikeouts (34). as Ben Clemens wrote Back in April, “Kwan’s phenomenal bat control is as real as it gets.”

A 2018 fifth-round pick out of Oregon State University, Kwan came into the current campaign, emerging as one of the game’s most intriguing young players. Number 57 our . Feather Precision Top 100 Prospects ListThe moderately-built left-handed hitter was described as having “small levers and excellent hand-eye coordination”. Brett Gardner Was cited as his closest comp.

In the latest installment of our Tox Hitting series, Cowan discusses his innate ability to bat baseballs and sneak up on pitches that aren’t in the strike zone.


David Laurilla: You got a lot of attention early in the season, almost exclusively for your elite interaction skills. What does that mean to you?

Steven Kwan: “It’s a compliment, if anything. I think hitter success is directly related to strike zone management – swinging on strike and not getting out of the zone. I certainly see it as a compliment.” “

Laurilla: To what extent are those qualities innate as opposed to learned?

Quan: “They’re so intuitive. I think that kind of discipline is hard to teach. In the minors, I was told that plate discipline is certain, but that power rating — the power number — can go up. Basically, you’re a Kind of teaching power, but you can’t really teach strike zone management and contact rate.”

Laurilla: Also, I’m sure the organization works with hitters to help them improve in that area…

Quan: “Oh yeah. I mean, there’s lane training, and all those kinds of things. But for me, it’s something I’ve always taken a step on. I knew at an early age that I could hit the ball. Won’t hit out of the park, so I’ll have to find different ways to affect the game.

Laurilla: While not chasing is obviously important, a hitting coach recently told me that good plate discipline is more about waiting and attacking, which is where you can do damage.

Quan: “Sure. I’m going to swing on pitches I can do something with. The way I look at baseball… Like, the balls I can’t hit well will be balls, maybe my arm length of. From. Those are the pitches I want to hunt for.”

Laurilla: Not all strikes are created equal. Some pitches in the zone are harder to square than others…

Quan: “No doubt about it. Where I’m looking for the pitch… I always try to stay on the fastball. I can adjust later on off-speed. I mean, if you’re on time for the fastball If I’m sitting on say, a slider, and then a fastball comes, it’s over. At best I’m going to screw it up. Conversely, if I I’m ready for a fastball and a slider or a curveball comes on, so I can get off, put my hands back, and still move on the pitch.”

Laurilla: Discipline and contact skills aside, to what extent are you a natural hitter as opposed to a learned hitter? Does that question make sense?

Quan: “Yeah. I’ve gone through different stances my whole life. My first year out of college, I had to switch it up. I had toe taps for two years, through college. In the minors, I moved like a set stance. Last year, I added a leg lift.

“So, it’s basically a little of both. The eye-ball stuff is basically instinctual or self-taught — it’s kind of hitter-esque to me — manifesting that power, something more Like getting pop, that’s definitely learned.”

Laurilla: Can you elaborate on leg lift?

Quan: “That’s how I feel most efficient in my body. Last year’s spring training I was in a confinement cage, attached to some machines, and we tried some stuff. It’s something I stick with. I feel comfortable, so I took it to some spring training games and some backfield stuff. I had success with that.”

Laurilla: what it’s like to work with [Guardians hitting coach] chris wallika,

Quan: “Val is awesome. I think it’s important to have a hitting coach who is like your home player. He’ll talk to you, but at the same time, if you need anything from him, he has the knowledge to back it up. He’s both of them.” areas are great.”

Laurilla: Are you too into hit analytics?

Quan: “Not so much. I really try to cut it down. For me, hit-ball-hit-ball is the best way to hit. That’s what works best for me.”

Laurilla: You mentioned “revealing your power” earlier. Is this something you are working for?

Quan: “My approach right now is not to be too worried about it. I’m 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, and being the leadoff hitter, my job is to get to base. The power numbers are obviously really good, but We have our best hitters behind me. [Josh] Naylor, [José] Ramirez, [Amed] rosario… I mean, they’re going to hit doubles, triples, and home runs. All I have to do is stay on base in front of them. That’s my main priority.”

Laurilla: Any final thoughts on killing?

Quan: “Not really. I’m not a very loud guy with that kind of stuff. I’ll always answer any kind of questions, but really, I’m just putting my head down and grinding in there. Hitting for me It’s just hitting.”


Earlier “Talk Hitting” interviews can be found through these links: I am Adele, Jeff Albert, Greg Allen, nolan arenado, Aaron Bates, Alex Bregman, bo bichete, cavan bigio, JJ Bledey, Bobby Bradley, Jay Bruce, Matt Chapman, Michael Chaviso, Jacob Cruz, Nelson Cruz, paul de jong, Josh Donaldson, Brendan Donovan, Rick Eckstein, Drew Ferguson, Justin Foscue, Michael Francoso, Ryan Fuller, Joy Gallo, Devlin Granberg, Andy Haines, Mitch Hanniger, Robert Hassell III, Rice Hoskins, Eric Hosmer, Tim Hires, Josh Jung, Jimmy Kerro, Trevor Larnach, Doug Latta, Ivan Longoria, Michael Lorenzo, Gavin Lux, Dave Magadan, Trey Mancini, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, hunter mens, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Daniel Murphy, brent rucker, Drew Saylor, Trevor Story, Fernando Tatis Jr., Justin Turner, Mark Trumbo, Josh Vanmeter, Robert Van Skoyok, zack wein, mark winds, Matt Weirling, luke voite, Jared Walshow, Jordan Westberg, Jesse Winker, nick york, kevin ucillis,

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