Boston Red Sox Report Cards: Infielder/Outfielder Tzu-Wei Lin
By Hunter Noll
The BoSox Injection crew grades the 2018 season for each member of the Boston Red Sox, we’re moving on with utility-man Tzu-Wei Lin.
Boston Red Sox utility-man Tzu-Wei Lin saw a real rough patch early during the 2018 season. After starting 6-for-12, Lin went on a 0-for-25 stretch that dropped his average in the Majors to .162. The rest of the season was spent redeeming himself though.
Lin spent the majority of the year in the minors, putting up superb numbers in Triple-A. That includes a career-best .307 batting average in 277 at-bats in Pawtucket. The left-handed hitter roped a career-high 20 doubles to go along with two triples and five home runs. The run production was there as well, as Lin managed 25 RBI and 33 runs scored in limited time – even stealing three bases.
This is more about what he did in the Majors though. Lin spent 46 games with the Red Sox and managed to actually put together a fantastic season.
He proved once again that he can give you Gold Glove defense at shortstop – which is where he spent the most time. Lin also showcased his defensive prowess at both second base and third base as well though. Most importantly, he looked comfortable in the outfield, making him a true super-utility man.
The bat saw a major turnaround as well. Through his first 37 at-bats, Lin had that miserable .162 average (6-for-37). He went 10-for-28 (.357) the rest of the way though, raising his average to .246. The 24-year-old also managed his six doubles and one triple, as well as his first career Major League home run.
Lin was not on the playoff roster but was on the Red Sox short-list of players to stay ready in-case someone went down with an injury. It might sound weird, but that’s actually great standing for a player who came into the year seen as mainly a defensive replacement.
The fantastic season in Triple-A coupled with the turnaround he saw in the Majors are the driving forces behind the grade. Hitting his first career home run helped as well as this turned into a superb 2018 for Lin.
Looking Ahead to 2019
Tzu-Wei Lin saw a lot of time as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner for the Red Sox in 2018. Late in the year, however, he was starting to get a few at-bats. This could be a good sign for the future as he has shown he can handle big league pitching. His ability to play multiple positions at a high level raise his stock another level as well.
Lin should fight for a roster spot in Spring Training this year. Even if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster though, expect him to play a big part in the Red Sox 2019 season.