Is that this outfielder Michael Brantley 2.0? 

3: 32 PM UTC

For the first two weeks of the 2022 MLB season, Steven Kwan used to be the debate of Main League Baseball — and for appropriate reason.

He set aside of dwelling a Main League file by reaching inaccurate 19 instances in his first six games. He authored the longest walk with out a swing and miss since 2000. Over the first two weeks of the season, he led all qualified hitters with a cramped strikeout charge of 3.4.

Two months after introducing himself to the baseball world, Kwan started batting leadoff for the Guardians, where he’s supplied the personnel with some exceptional-needed offensive consistency at the live of the lineup whereas additionally learning about Main League pitching on the fly.

Sound acquainted? It will.

With a profile built around contact and straggle, Kwan’s electrical debut used to be eerily equal to the debut of 1 other used Cleveland outfield prospect: Michael Brantley.

Right here are Brantley’s stats through the first 100 games of his profession:

.264/.313/.333, 108 hits, 3 HR, 33 RBIs, 13 2B, 3 3B, 14 SB, 80 OPS+, 78 WRC+, 12.8 strikeout charge

And right here are Kwan’s stats through his first 100 games, a plateau he crossed final weekend in Toronto:

.296/.373/.391, 109 hits, 3 HR, 29 RBIs, 18 2B, 4 3B, 11 SB, 121 OPS+, 122 WRC+, 8.8 strikeout charge

That’s upright: through the first 100 games of his profession, Kwan’s off to a higher open than someone who’s change into one in every of basically the most straight forward pure hitters in baseball.

It would not live there both, as Kwan additionally bears some steady similarities to the modern model of Brantley.

Whereas Brantley has more energy and hits the ball more indispensable (we are going to salvage to that later), they every boast elite plate and swing discipline. The completely disagreement is that one participant is a 35-year-venerable with 11 years of Main League provider time under his belt, and the alternative is a 24-year-venerable rookie who wasn’t a top prospect coming into the season.

Even Kwan may presumably not imagine the similarities.

The day sooner than Kwan and his Guardians teammates departed for the All-Star break , Cleveland’s rookie outfielder used to be presented with records exhibiting how his statistics in comparison with Brantley’s at the equal juncture.

In the intervening time, Kwan used to be through 78 games, batting .279 with 77 hits, 23 RBIs and a miniscule strikeout charge of 8.5. In that identical profession-starting time body, Brantley batted .255 with 80 hits, 30 RBIs and a strikeout charge of 13.6.

“Oh man, I didn’t know that,” Kwan mentioned when presented with the stats. “That’s gargantuan humbling. That’s undoubtedly cool to leer that I’m on the upright tune thus some distance.”

When Kwan used to be drafted by Cleveland in the summertime of 2018, Brantley used to be already one in every of the players Kwan admired at the Main League Degree. At the time of Kwan’s drafting, Brantley used to be in the course of an All-Star season and carried out the year batting .309 with 17 dwelling runs and 76 RBIs in his final year in Cleveland.

“I don’t know if I seemed up to him any longer which ability that of he used to be in the organization, it used to be more appropriate which ability that of he used to be a extraordinarily appropriate participant,” Kwan mentioned. “It used to be undoubtedly cool watching him, particularly since he used to be a contact man who developed some energy later.”

The open of Brantley and Kwan’s Main League careers had been additionally identical in that no-one undoubtedly knew what to quiz from them at the time of their promotion. When Brantley used to be first known as up in September 2009, it used to be so he may presumably salvage a Main League audition on a Cleveland personnel that used to be going nowhere.

After a 32 sport Main League stint in 2009, Brantley spent most of the first three months of 2010 in Triple-A sooner than being known as up in July, where he fleet settled in as Cleveland’s leadoff hitter.

“For me for my fragment it used to be all about getting overjoyed and figuring out that I belonged in the enormous leagues,” Brantley mentioned of the open of his profession. “Whereas you salvage a cramped bit more assured and realize what’s occurring you’re in a position to let your sport build and let your sport grow.”

This year, Kwan broke camp with the Guardians, a option that came in gigantic fragment as a result of Cleveland attempting to work through evaluating its glut of Main League-ready potentialities. And whereas Kwan hasn’t been demoted this year, he struggled in Would possibly well per chance simply sooner than rebounding in June and changing into the Guardians’ plump-time leadoff hitter.

“I didn’t quiz to be batting at the live of the lineup — and even being with the personnel at the halfway point,” Kwan mentioned earlier this year. “It’s been an total whirlwind.”

One space where Kwan has a determined abet over rookie Brantley is protection. Kwan’s essentially played left arena this year, where he’s been price eight outs above moderate, which is tied for the Main League lead. And whereas Brantley has grew to alter into into a solid left fielder (quiz any Astros fan about his impossible double play in the 2019 ALCS), he used to be price -1.5 dWAR over his first 100 games whereas largely taking part in heart arena.

Protection is no longer the if truth be told fragment of Brantley’s sport that’s developed as he’s used. Despite completely hitting three dwelling runs through his first 100 games (and completely totaling 16 homers through his first four seasons in the Main Leagues), Brantley added some thunder to hit bat in 2014, mashing 20 dwelling runs and 45 doubles en route to a profession-high .506 slugging share. In the eight seasons since then, Brantley has slugged 81 dwelling runs and tallied a .463 slugging share, a a lot shout from when he needed 42 games to hit his first Main League dwelling straggle.

On July 8, 2010, Brantley overwhelmed a 92 mph interior fastball into the upright-arena seats at Tropicana Self-discipline for his first long ball. Whereas the home straggle went a substantial distance (399 ft), that used to be more as a result of Brantley’s timing and the pitch inform than his energy

Almost 12 years after Brantley’s first outing around the bases, Kwan recorded his first dwelling straggle in a sport against the Blue Jays in Would possibly well per chance simply. The pitch he sent out? A 95 mph fastball from Jose Berrios that used to be up and in — a shut to reproduction of the pitch that Brantley hit out.

In step with Brantley, his uninteresting uptick in energy has been fragment of a idea he developed with his dad.

“My dad (used MLB participant and hitting coach Mickey Brantley) repeatedly preached to me that first you possess to be taught to hit, then you definately can be taught to hit for energy. I bought into that at a younger age and realized how to hit the ball up the heart. Even when I used to be 19 or 20 years venerable, I had never undoubtedly worked on pulling the ball in the batting cage or right through batting notice, every thing used to be up the heart.

“Then one offseason, he asked if I used to be in a position to open learning how to drag, and that’s when every thing modified for me. That helped me change into the participant I am today time.”

Although Kwan doesn’t possess shut a Brantley-sized leap in the ability division, he aloof has the elite bat-to-ball abilities that ought to build him a mainstay in the Guardians’ lineup. That mentioned, two of Kwan’s three dwelling runs possess attain against breaking balls, which methodology he aloof has ample pop in his bat to build pitchers pay for mistakes.

“In the Minors, they educated us that energy is something you would speak in desire at hand-witness and consult with charge, so confidently issues possess progressing,” Kwan mentioned.

After admiring Kwan from afar for when it comes to the total season, Brantley got a nearer possess a look at Kwan’s sport in the starting of August when the Astros traveled to Innovative Self-discipline for a four-sport sequence against the Guardians.

Houston’s discuss over with to Cleveland couldn’t possess attain at a higher time both, as Kwan entered the sequence three games away from tying the 19-sport hitting walk Brantley had as a rookie. Brantley’s walk remained intact, on the opposite hand, as Kwan went 0-for-2 in the second sport of the sequence sooner than leaving with a foot contusion.

“It is aloof a mountainous accomplishment,” mentioned Brantley, who has been out since June with a shoulder harm that may possess him out for the rest of 2022. “That’s various hits and it’s no longer straightforward to enact; that’s a testomony to how he prepares and the swing that he has. … Cleveland is love dwelling for me so I repeatedly snoop on them, and I saw he’s having a mountainous open to his profession for them.”

In the 4,590 days between the debuts of Brantley and Kwan, first-round picks love Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall and Bradley Zimmer all failed in their quest to be the inheritor obvious in Innovative Self-discipline’s outfield.

Now, Kwan’s fragment of a Cleveland childhood motion that’s threatening to lift shut the American League by storm, exceptional love Brantley and his teammates did during the 2010’s.

“I am in a group aside of dwelling where I may presumably additionally be who I are attempting to be and I don’t must alternate my sport to fit a obvious playstyle,” Kwan mentioned. “I will be able to model of showcase what I undoubtedly possess.”

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