Suzuki, Kwan are top April rookies
Steven Kwan and Seiya Suzuki's strong starts to the 2022 season earned them MLB Rookie of the Month honors for April on Monday.
Kwan carried an impressive Spring Training into the regular season, where there was hardly a pitch he couldn’t hit. The outfielder saw 116 pitches and took 40 swings before he swung and missed this year. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the 116 pitches seen are the most without a swing and miss for any batter to start his career among players to debut since 2000.
Buoyed by a five-hit effort in just his third career game, Kwan carried an average better than .400 and an OPS over 1.100 through the first couple weeks of the year. Although a hamstring injury and a late-month slump have dimmed his numbers slightly, Kwan still finished April with a .354 average, and his .459 on-base percentage ranked third-best among players with at least 60 plate appearances. He also struck out only six times in 48 at-bats.
Kwan is the first Cleveland player to be named AL Rookie of the Month since Tyler Naquin, who won the award for June and July 2016.
Suzuki signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Cubs in March following a highly decorated career in Japan. The five-time NPB All-Star has lived up to the deal immediately, posting a .934 OPS with nine extra-base hits through 21 games in April.
Suzuki shined brightest during a hot streak from April 9-18, when he went 11-for-26 (.423) with four homers, two doubles, 11 RBIs, seven walks and a 1.504 OPS. That production helped him earn NL Player of the Week honors in just his second week in the Majors.
With Suzuki’s selection, the NL Rookie of the Month recipient in four of the past five months has been a Cubs hitter. Prior to Suzuki, Patrick Wisdom earned the honor for June 2021. Frank Schwindel was the winner for August and September.