For the first time in club history, four Cleveland players were 2022 Gold Glove recipients. Shane Bieber, Andres Gimenez, Steven Kwan, and Myles Straw earned awards, each for the first time in their careers.
The outfield leather-flashers Kwan and Straw talked about being a part of the team that led to a franchise history four gold gloves.
Center fielder Straw said: “You look at it and half of your team out there has won the gold glove and that’s pretty impressive. This team relies a lot on defense. We play really good defense…we play hard. Even the guys who didn’t win it this year…guys like Amed, he’s taken a step forward since I first saw him. Josh Naylor has made unbelievable plays. Jose should win it just about every single year. Oscar has taken incredible strides.” He went on to say “Every single person on this team has gotten better. Hedges is unbelievable, I see him from center field every game and he just makes it look [easy]…I feel like I could pitch when I watch that guy catch. Everyone is so valuable out there…we take pride and our coaches do an amazing job staying on top of us all the way from the top down.”
Kwan followed that up by crediting assistant coach Kyle Hudson. The rookie said “He was huge in our development. Accountability was the biggest thing… he has a certain expectation for all of us. He does the analytics on where to play us… which makes it really easy for us to want to learn and play for a guy who’s that locked in and that in-tune with it.”
The weather in Cleveland is certainly a factor in making plays. This season in particular was filled with many wet games. Straw credits Hudson with having the guys out there at the right times to get the feel for when the ball slips or takes a long hop.
The outfield duo had fun when discussing their favorite catches of the season. Kwan’s famous catch when he dove into the stands in Seattle was Straw’s favorite moment. He laughed as he recounted the story “I ran over [after] and told him something sarcastic….and he really couldn’t breathe.” Kwan remembered it with a grin. He had asked “did the catch count?” and Straw teasingly told him it didn’t. The left fielder went on to say “I thought I can’t even breathe and you’re still messing with me?” They went on to banter and laugh about it showing the fondness they have for each other.
Steven Kwan stayed in the game following this catch and singled the next inning.
Give him the Gold Glove now.#ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/BPuRXDbRno
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) August 27, 2022
Kwan’s favorite catch of Straw’s came in the playoff game against Tampa Bay. He recalled “it was the 13th inning with a runner on 2nd and 3rd and Francisco Mejia smoked one into the right center gap and I was like, ‘Oh god, that’s for sure like two runs.’ Kwan went on to describe Straw “Myles, of course like he always does, came out of fricking nowhere. He didn’t even dive. He just took the perfect route, perfect steps for it and kind of took it down to a knee. We don’t win if not for that one.”
Straw had a personal favorite in a game against Chicago. “It was hit into left-center, I slid and it transitioned well…and we were kinda beating up on the White Sox at the time.” He said with a smirk.
Myles straw on making this catch: “it was… it was whatever, it was chill” pic.twitter.com/kYfrhN8r1v
— RJ Knows Ball (@modelolover_) September 22, 2022
The Guardians’ rookie had an amazing season. He led all Major League left fielders in Defensive Runs Saved with 21. Kwan became only the sixth rookie to win a Gold Glove since 1990 and just the second in Cleveland history. Sandy Alomar Jr. was the first to do so in 1990.
Straw compared Kwan’s style of play to that of former Seattle Mariner Ichiro Suzuki. “[Kwan] was getting all the hits and he plays the outfield really good. That’s his favorite player growing up. It was a great first season for Kwan…it’s a good expectation to live up to right now.”
The future certainly looks bright not just for the two outfielders, but for the entire team. Defense is something they all take very seriously. This is a significant part of the squad’s style of play. A style that gave us a season to remember.
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