Do not disturb: Guardian’s rookie Steven Kwan enjoys a dream start

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Steven Kwan never thought he would be here. Not like that at least.

Not only did he reach the Guardians in his first spring training session in the major leagues, he has been a starting player in all three games they have played.

In Thursday’s season opener against the Royals, he hit seventh, went twice and hit a single to the right field in a 3-1 loss. On Saturday, the second game of the season, he beat number two. The Guardians lost again, 1-0, in 10 innings, while Kwan went 2-for-3 with the walk.

Kwan was back in the second hole on Sunday and he made history in a 17-3 win. He singled in his first four strokes, was hit by a pitch and then doubled. He went 5-on-5 with four goals scored and reached base six straight times.

Open your career like this and you will cause a disruption in the franchise’s filing system where the records are stored.

Here are the facts. Kwan beats .800 (8-to-10). He has reached base 12 times and scored four runs in three gams. His slash reads as follows: .800 average, .857 onbase percent and a 1,000 slugging percent.

Now to the records:

  • Kwan is the first player since at least 1901 to reach base 12 times in his first three matches in the major leagues.
  • Kwan’s eight hits in his first three major league games is a franchise record.
  • Kwan is the first player since 1901 to reach base six times in a game within his first three games.
  • Kwan is the sixth player since 1901 to record a five-hit game in his first three games. The last to do so was the White Sox DH Yermín Mercedes on April 2, 2021. Before then, it had not been done since 1933.
  • He is the ninth player since 1901 to have played four times in his first three games. The last to do so was Toronto’s Josh Palacios on April 10, 2021.

One of those statistics was told to Kwan after Sunday’s match. His eyes glazed over and he said, “I can not believe I’m standing here in Kansas City at all. So if you told me the statistics, it would just jump off like all that.”

When he was told he was the first major league since 1901 to reach base 12 times in a row in his first three games, Kwan said: “It’s cool. It does not even feel right to hear that.”

Kwan says the start of his big league career has “surpassed any fever dream I’ve ever had. I’m afraid I’ll wake up soon. This whole experience has been fantastic.”

The Kwan family has been at Kauffman Stadium for the first three games of this four-game series ending on Monday.

“It’s super worth it,” Kwan said. “My mom and dad are the ones who put all the work in and drove me everywhere. I did not even realize how much trouble it is to drive from Northern California to Southern California, to Arizona back to Northern California on a weekend.

“I’m just sitting in the back of the car playing my Game Boy. If I got tired, I would just sleep. They’re grinding. It’s super fulfilling to share this moment.”

Kwan also has fans in the Guardian’s clubhouse. Teammate Ernie Clement changed his profile picture on Instagram to a picture of Kwan. Clement said, “He’s my hero.”

“I love it,” Kwan said. “Those are fun things.”

Oscar Mercado, who hit a grand slam and a triple in Sunday’s victory, called Kwan a “spark plug”.

“I’m not surprised,” Mercado said when asked about Kwan’s start. “He’s such a good player. He knows himself as a player and what he can do. He’s such a spark. He’s been an absolute blessing and it’s going to be great to see him play this year.”

One more thing about Kwan. In spring training, he hit .469 (15-for-32) with twice and no strikeouts. His next strikeout in the major leagues will be his first.

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