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Over/Under 2023 Preview: Steven Kwan

Will Steven Kwan be worth more or less than 3.5 fWAR in 2023?

Cleveland Guardians v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Based on ZiPS projections, Steven Kwan is expected to finish 2023 with the following stats:

143 G, 628 PA, 7 HR, 14 SB, 9.7% BB%, 9.7% K%, .274/.350/.377, 110 wRC+, 3.5 fWAR

Read what our writers think, then vote in the poll below and drop your own opinions in the comments and on the Covering the Corner Discord.

Quincy Wheeler’s prediction: OVER

I promise that I am not going to pick the over for every Guardians player but I do truly believe that Steven Kwan is the kind of player who will defy the projections systems on a regular basis.

To ZiPS’ credit, it buys into Kwan as a great defender (unlike Steamer which doesn’t think he’s good enough there to overcome the position penalty for playing a less valuable defensive position). But, it’s hitting where I think Kwan will beat ZiPS. In 2022, he had a slash of .298/.373/.400 and a 124 wRC+. ZiPS looks at the difference between his wOBA of .341 and xwOBA of .312 and, logically, concludes he will be more likely to be at a .322 wOBA. Similarly, ZiPS says that his .323 BABIP is more likely to be a still respectable .295.

I believe Kwan has an elite level of bat control that is extremely rare in MLB where he will continually be able to get hits to drop with his elite contact rate, continuing to make up for a lack of elite exit velocity. Some hints toward this in his statistics from 2022 — he put up a 102 wRC+ with two strikes (good enough for the 10th best wRC+ in MLB with two strikes in 2022), a 165 wRC+ in high leverage situations, and a 143 wRC+ with runners in scoring position. He also had a 131 wRC+ with no shift, so shift restrictions should help him, as well for the times he wasn’t able to place hits where defenders aren’t.

Kwan had a 175 wRC+ in April 2022 and a 129 wRC+ in June-October — it seems pretty clear that his 55 wRC+ in May was an outlier as pitchers adjusted to him. He also hit five of his six homers in the second half of 2022, showing some growth in his slugging abilities.

With the additional growth that can reasonably be expected for a talented young hitter and hopefully umpires correcting their egregious disrespect of his elite knowledge of the strike zone, I expect Kwan to put up a wRC+ closer to 130 wRC+ and an fWAR total somewhere in the 4-5 range.


Will Steven Kwan finish with an fWAR over or under 3.5?

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    (245 votes)
  • 11%
    (32 votes)
277 votes total Vote Now

Tomorrow’s player: Andrés Giménez