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Che-Hsuan Lin

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Che-Hsuan Lin (林哲瑄)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Che-Hsuan Lin was an Olympic outfielder who made his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox in 2012.

[edit] Amateur Career

Lin was on the 2000 Pony League World Series champions. Lin hit .353 for the Taiwan team in the junior Asian Championships in 2006. He had a fine performance in the 2007 Elite High School Tournament in Taiwan, batting .533 to finish second. In the championship game, he was 4 for 4 with 4 RBI against another prospect, Rong-Hao Hsieh, to lead his team to victory.

Lin was timed at 10.9 in the 100 meter dash and 3.8 seconds from home to first base. Lin was scouted by several major league teams and signed for a bonus around $400,000 with the Boston Red Sox; Jon Deeble had scouted him for Boston.

[edit] 2007-2009: The low minors, Olympics, World Baseball Classic

Lin debuted in the USA in 2007. The teenager hit .263/.330/.457 in 43 games for the GCL Red Sox, stealing 14 bases in 17 tries and legging out six triples. He had 7 assists in 42 outfield games and his 4 double plays tied Lee Ellis for the lead among Gulf Coast League outfielders. He hit just .163/.265/.209 in 11 games for the Lowell Spinners. Baseball America rated him as the #4 prospect in the GCL behind Michael Burgess, Jesus Montero and Ben Revere. They also rated him as having the best outfield arm in the Red Sox system.

Lin joined the Taiwan national team for the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament. He hit .286/.344/.357 with 5 RBI and 2 steals in 7 games as their starting center fielder; Taiwan won a spot in the Beijing Olympics as a result.

Lin was the star of the 2008 Futures Game. Replacing Fernando Martinez for the World team in center field, he hit a 2-run homer against Ryan Mattheus in the 7th inning to put his team up 3-0. Two innings later, he singled against Kevin Pucetas but was stranded. He won the Larry Doby Award as the game's MVP, the second straight Taiwan native to be so honored; Chin-lung Hu had won the award in 2007.

Lin was Taiwan's center fielder in the 2008 Olympics; he hit .269/.296/.385 and delivered a 2-run homer against Mike Johnson in their 1-run victory over Canada that earned them fifth place.

For the 2008 season, Lin hit .249/.342/.359 with 33 steals in 40 tries and 8 errors for the Greenville Drive for a disappointing performance outside of his Futures Game and Olympic work. He tied Boomer Whiting for 9th in the South Atlantic League in swipes. Despite the errors, Baseball America rated him as the best defensive outfielder in the Boston system. They also listed him as the SAL's #12 prospect, between Burgess and Cole Rohrbough.

Lin was one of Taiwan's best performers in a weak showing at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He was 3 for 7 with two walks and a role out of the leadoff spot. It was Taiwan's only run of the tournament. That summer, he improved a bit on his 2008 work, to .265/.355/.365 for the Salem Red Sox. He scored 75 runs, drew 66 walks and went 26-for-37 in steal attempts. He made 11 errors but had 18 assists and 7 double plays. He led Carolina League flyhawks in assists and double plays. He also was among the league leaders in walks (tied for 5th with Johnny Giavotella), sacrifice flies (8, 2nd to Jordy Mercer), runs (tied for 7th with Dale Mollenhauer), steals (tied for 7th with Giavotella and Pedro Florimon) and times caught stealing (tied for 5th). He also was third in the Boston minors in steals, behind Wilfred Pichardo and Derrik Gibson. He made the league All-Star team, joining Matt Angle and Derrick Robinson in the outfield. Baseball America again named him the best defensive outfielder in the Boston minors and also credited him with the best strike-zone judgement of a BoSox farmhand. They also listed him as the league's 18th-best prospect, between Luis Esposito and Jeff Bianchi.

[edit] 2010-2012: High minors, more international events

Lin continued to show good defense and leadoff skills with the 2010 Portland Sea Dogs, producing at a .275/.386/.343 rate with 88 steals, 72 walks and 26 steals (caught 12 times). His power production fell, going from 7 home runs to 2. He only made 3 errors, fielding .991, while having 15 assists. He was third in the Eastern League in walks (behind Nate Spears and Darin Mastroianni) and OBP (after Tagg Bozied and Mastroianni) while also ranking second in outfield assists, behind Andy Dirks. He had the best fielding percentage of any EL outfielder with 250+ chances and led EL outfielders with 320 putouts. He won the Red Sox Minor League Defensive Player of the Year Award. Baseball America rated him as the best defensive outfielder in the Boston chain and the EL, having the best outfield arm in the Red Sox minors and as possessing the best strike-zone judgement in both his organization and his league. For the first time, Baseball America did not list him as one of his league's top 20 prospects, though.

After the 2010 season, Lin again played for his homeland. He was Taiwan's center fielder and leadoff man in the 2010 Intercontinental Cup and had a great tournament at .457/.537/.543 with 5 steals and 9 runs. He led the Cup in OBP, was 3rd in runs (after Cuba's Héctor Olivera Jr. and Giorvis Duvergel), tied Soo-bin Jung for the most steals and was 4th in average (after Olivera, Duvergel and Alfredo Despaigne). In the Bronze Medal game, he was 2 for 4 with a walk and a steal in a 4-3 loss to Italy. In the 8th inning, he came up down by a run and singled off Justin Cicatello but was thrown out running by Juan Pablo Angrisano. He was named one of the All-Star outfielders for the Cup, joining Cubans Duvergel and Alexei Bell. He and Wei-Lun Pan were the All-Star representatives for the host nation. Lin also played for Taiwan in the 2010 Asian Games. In the Gold Medal game, he went 2 for 5 with a run and a RBI against KBO stars Hyun-jin Ryu and Suk-min Yoon but Pan pitched poorly and the rest of Taiwan's offense was not as good as they fell in a 9-3 rout.

Lin struggled in 2011 with Portland (.268/.373/.333 in 34 G) and the Pawtucket Red Sox (.235/.325/.293 in 85 G). He stole 28 bases in 35 tries and scored 72 runs while showing good defense again (.987 fielding, 12 assists). Baseball America rated him once again as having the best arm of a Boston minor league outfielder.

[edit] 2012-: Majors and minors

Lin was no better in early 2012, hitting only .209/.277/.326 in 11 games for Portland. He was still called up to the majors when Jacoby Ellsbury was injured. He was the seventh major leaguer from Taiwan - oddly, three had gone to the same high school with Lin, Hong-Chih Kuo and Chin-lung Hu.

Che-Hsuan replaced Cody Ross in center field in the 9th inning of a 13-5 win against the Rays in his MLB debut, but was sent right back down after the game.

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