Signed as an international amateur free agent by the Chicago Cubs out of South Korea in August of 2015, Kwang-Min Kwon just finished his second professional season in 2017. The 19-year-old (DOB: December 12, 1997) outfielder has spent both summers in short-season levels, and has yet to put up any numbers of significance, slashing .202/.282/.290/.573 over 58 games (193 at-bats) across both years combined with seven doubles, two home runs, 18 walks, and 77 strikeouts in his career. That includes a .190/.269/.282/.551 slash line over 49 games (163 at-bats) in 2017 alone, split between the AZL Cubs and the Eugene Emeralds, with 67 strikeouts and only 15 walks in that time frame.

Kwon is still very, very raw and likely isn’t ready for full-season ball yet for 2018. As you’ll see below, we have a full list of tool evaluations and scouting grades for the Chicago Cubs prospect, plus Kwang-Min Kwon game video and more to give you a better idea of what the Cubs have in this young, left-handed hitting outfielder who they initially signed for $1.2 million two years ago.




Kwang-Min Kwon, Chicago Cubs — 2017 Scouting Report

Dates observed in 2017: August 6; August 8; August 13

TOOL (FV)
NOTES & COMMENTS
Hit (40)
High hands, high back elbow to start. On line to pitcher in stance and stays on line through stride. Left-center field approach with below-average bat speed and below-average pitch recognition, the combination of which leaves him susceptible to getting beat by good fastballs all across the strike zone. Unlike stereotypical LHH, struggles on balls down and in; can’t turn on fastballs on the inner-half — and yet, Kwon shows a tendency to pull off and swing harmlessly through fastballs away. Decent balance and off-speed recognition, but below-average hand-eye coordination. Lots of work to do here.

Power (40)
Little raw game power. Difficulty accessing his pull power thanks to that limited, left-center field approach. Decent size (listed 6’2″, 210 lbs.) and could develop some power as he ages, but can’t actualize it right now. Swing stays in strike zone for quite a while, with slight upward movement; if/when he learns how to tap into his power, mechanics here suggest he could see a small surge. Struggles to manipulate the barrel right now, though; very raw.

Glove (50)
Good feel for going back on fly balls. Decent lateral movement in the outfield. Slightly slower reaction times on reading balls in the air, but average speed makes up for it somewhat (see more below). Otherwise unexceptional there; serviceable enough to be a workable, reliable defender in the outfield but not a front-line glove guy by any means.

Arm (40)
Overall below-average arm; accuracy is far better than raw arm strength at this point. Quick release and good mechanics and footwork on throws, but little power behind them. Decent carry on his throws, especially to home plate, but a lack of top velocity even with momentum towards his target. Will be a far better in left field than right field because of it; enough athleticism to play across the outfield, but he has considerable work to do on improving raw arm strength if he’s to see significant time in right field.

Speed (50)
Had him between 4.18 and 4.23 to first base out of the left-handed batter’s box. Average to above-average instincts and anticipation on the bases. Not the quickest first step, but good top speed once he gets going, and good strides in the outfield. Kwon moves backwards very well on fly balls in the outfield; has some work to do coming forward on balls in front, but he can make up for slow recognition off the bat with that speed. May steal a few bases because of his quickness, but likely not a significant threat on the base paths.

Kwang-Min Kwon Scouting Report — 2017 Game Video




Kwang-Min Kwon Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis

Signed for seven figures out of high school in South Korea, it’s taken a long time for Kwang-Min Kwon to develop in rookie ball, and he still hasn’t shown enough (in my mind) to earn a full-season role to begin next year. There are quite a few holes in his swing, including virtually the entire inner half of the plate, and his slap-type left-center field approach without even average game power leaves him open to be exploited by pitchers. Serviceable but not impressive on defense, Kwon is fine in the outfield and will continue to improve, but without any raw tools that would make me think he’ll ever be more than an average defender. As such, it’s imperative his offensive profile rapidly improves—namely, in finding a more consistent way to go to his pull side with authority—or else pitchers are going to exploit Kwon on the black and he’ll stall out fairly quickly in the upper minors. All that said, he’s just 19 years old and has only been stateside for 24 months now, making him a projection wild card; surely, he’s still been adjusting to professional baseball and may soon fall into a workable routine that’ll see notable on-field improvement in 2018 and beyond.




Kwang-Min Kwon Scouting Report — Future Projection

Barring exceptional off-season and spring training work in the coming months, I’d expect to see the Chicago Cubs re-assign Kwang-Min Kwon to one of their short-season/rookie affiliates for 2018 just as the last two years. He’ll be 20 years old in December and time is still on his side, but he must show some tangible production improvement soon if he’s to move up as a potential future piece in the organization. Long term, I’d expect him at best to be a possible future up-and-down/bench outfielder for the Chicago Cubs; if Kwon’s offensive profile can develop and out-pace my expectations, he could turn himself into a utility/platoon outfielder in an even larger role. If he can’t make wholesale adjustments at the plate, he’ll quickly fall into the world of organizational depth with a fringe shot at being an up-and-down fill-in guy.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Likely bench role with some possible utility/platoon outfield value if his bat can develop (40/42.5)

MLB ETA: 2022




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