Red Sox third base is no problem with Deven Marrero, Tzu-Wei Lin

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 29: Tzu-Wei Lin
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 29: Tzu-Wei Lin /

Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin have stabilized third base defensively for the Boston Red Sox and have surprised with some fortuitous offense.

Does a curve ball really curve? Just ask Boston Red Sox infielder Deven Marrero when he faces a right-hander and cuts at “The Hook” or “Old Uncle Charlie” tossed his way.  The result can be explained with a simple .151 which is what Marrero is hitting against righties. There is also a contributing factor with a 30.6 K%. Is there a positive?

Marrero loves lefties, hitting them at a .361 clip. Overall Marrero has just a .130 ISO and despite his hitting deficiencies simply does not walk that often with a 6.0 BB%. Marrero may have turned a baseball corner now that he has risen above the Mendoza Line, but the reality is he is simply not, nor will he ever be, a competent batsman and those seven double plays are an eye catcher. Then there is his glove work.

More from BoSox Injection

This kid can – as the vets say: “Pick ‘em.” Among all American League third basemen (250 innings) Marrero ranks first with a 17.2 UZR/150. In his short time at third Marrero has a plus three on defensive runs saved. For comparisons Pablo Sandoval is a -8.2 UZR/150. And let me journey into one of the favorite Boston pastimes – Sandoval bashing.

Sandoval has a -0.4 fWAR and just a .141 ISO. Sandoval’s average hovers around that of Marrero. This is actually an improvement over the 2015 defensive numbers that made Butch Hobson appear like Adrian Beltre.  Yes – it was that bad. So let’s put Sandoval to rest. His tenure at third is now history since he is a sieve at third base.

The Red Sox may have had a stroke of benevolent good fortune with  Double-A Portland promotion of Tzu-Wei Lin. Where did this guy come from?  On MLB Prospect Watch he was not among the Red Sox top 30 prospects.  On Sox Prospects, Lin was ranked 31. At Portland, Lin was hitting .302 and despite his size (listed at 5’9”, 155 Lbs.) he packed some punch with five home runs and nine doubles in 49 games. Apparently need means a bypass of Pawtucket as it did with Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi.

"Above-average defensive potential at shortstop. Gets good reads off the bat and has range to both sides. Fluid actions, soft hands. Confident defender, reads the ball off the bat well and comfortable charging the ball. Has some versatility to play second base, third base, and center field. – Sox Prospects"

Lin is a lefty hitter who was hitting .314 against southpaws at Portland.  Not bad. Where Lin scores his promotional points is his versatility and his glove work. Lin can play just about anywhere and has played third, short and second and, yes – the outfield. The early results are promising and just think back to “Pick ‘em.”

More from Red Sox News

The Red Sox now have a complementary force within the infield. Marrero can just keep score if a righty is on the bump and wait until needed. Lin and Marrero are solid city regarding defense and pitchers just love that “D” being played behind them. To toss out another  veteran term – both the kids can “flash the leather.”

Brock Holt is on another recovery from vertigo. Just maybe this will be a turning point and Holt can let Lin get some Triple-A experience at Pawtucket if roster space is needed.  If Holt cannot return the Red Sox have both Lin and Marrero to provide defense and can flip flop to take advantage of left-right matchups.

Next: Red Sox throw-down: Reggie Smith versus Jackie Bradley

What has surfaced with the recent Red Sox surge is that the importance of defense cannot be stressed enough and they have that when Sandoval sits. The surge has been most auspicious with the sudden hitting revival that allows a good glove to minimize the need for a productive bat. The Red Sox can carry for offensive slack at third as long as the occasional offensive contribution and solid defense remains.

Stats through 7/4