When Tzu-Wei Lin was first called up to the Boston Red Sox in late June, his role seemed small. He was there in a strictly depth role. In fact, I don’t think anyone would’ve been surprised if he barely saw the field before being sent back down.
Fast forward one month later, and Lin’s demotion comes as somewhat of a shock. While the return of Brock Holt brought on a logjam, there were a few options for the odd man out. Lin’s solid all-around play made him not as likely as he was a month ago.
On the season, the left-handed hitter has a .280/.379/.360 slash line with two runs batted in, eight runs scored, two triples as one steal on the year as well.
Meanwhile, he’s been very strong defensively at third base, as well as shortstop and second base.
That doesn’t seem like the performance of someone who should be demoted but there is an argument for his it as well.
First of all, Lin is just 23. He would be better served getting regular playing time in the minors than just sitting in the majors on the bench. Deven Marrero on the other hand is 26. While he’s still very young, there’s much less of a development argument for him.
Then the other candidate for a demotion was Sam Travis. Travis is 23 as well, so he could use regular playing time too. At first base, he has a role playing against left-handed pitching. That gives the Red Sox more scheduled playing time for Travis than they would’ve had for Lin.
While being sent back down to the minors can’t be fun, it’s hard to knock what Lin did during his short MLB stint. It’s not hard to say that you should expect to hear much more from him in the future.