Perhaps no Boston Red Sox has seen their stock rise as much as Tzu-Wei Lin this season. The Double-A Portland Sea Dogs’ shortstop has always been known for his defense but has picked up a bat this year as well.
Lin’s defense has always been his calling card. In fact, his best batting average in a season heading into 2017 was .255. That happened in 2012 in Rookie League, where Lin appeared in 29 games.
In 2016, the 23-year-old slashed .223/.287/.293 in 108 games with Portland. While that’s pretty low, he played solid defense and learned some new positions. He appeared at shortstop, third base, second base and centerfield that year.
Due to his poor numbers at the plate, Lin was back in Double-A to start 2017. But this time around, he’s brought a bat. The Taiwan native is slashing .345/.425/.557 on the year and has committed just one error in the field.
That .345 batting average is higher than the best on-base percentage (.341 in 2012) of his career.
Lin is on pace to break most of his career-best marks at the plate. His average, OBP and slugging percentage are all well on their way to crushing previous bests. In fact, he already has a career-high in home runs (3).
Lin has never had a stretch of 70 at-bats like this with the Red Sox organization before. While that’s not many at-bats, there have been no signs of slowing down. In fact, over his last 10 games, Lin’s average has actually risen (.355 in that span).
Lin is currently on the 7-day disabled list, pushing the pause button on his breakout season. This will be the real test though. If he can come back from the injury and continue to be effective at the plate, there will be no doubt left as to whether-or-not he’s the real deal.
The Red Sox have a lot of prospects who warrant being on a fan’s “watch list”; add Tzu-Wei Lin to those ranks.