Che-Hsuan Lin

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Che-Hsuan Lin (林哲瑄)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Che-Hsuan Lin was an Olympic outfielder who played in the majors with the Boston Red Sox in 2012.

Amateur Career[edit]

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.

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

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.

The Hualien native 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.

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

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.

2012: Majors and minors[edit]

Lin was no better in early 2012, hitting only .209/.277/.326 in 11 games for Pawtucket. He was still called up to the majors when Jacoby Ellsbury was injured. He was the seventh major leaguer from Taiwan. 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. He spent most of the year with Pawtucket, hitting .247/.323/.316 with 15 steals in 19 tries. In 9 games in the majors, he was 3 for 12 with a run. His three MLB hits came off Troy Patton and CC Sabathia (two-for-three off Sabathia in his final major league game, on a day Sabathia allowed just two other hits).

2013-2014: In the minors and a try on the hill[edit]

He batted .222/.263/.333 for Taiwan in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, starting in CF. He had two runs and no RBI in four games. Waived by Boston, he was signed by the Houston Astros. He hit .234/.356/.309 for the 2013 Oklahoma City RedHawks with 60 walks and 19 steals in 26 tries. He was 8th in the Astros chain in walks, between Brandon Meredith and Jon Singleton. He was next signed by the Texas Rangers, who converted him into a pitcher (he had tossed 1 2/3 shutout innings for the 2013 RedHawks as well). He was 1-1 with two saves and a 5.84 ERA for the 2014 AZL Rangers, striking out 14 in 12 1/3 IP.

2015-: Japan & Taiwan[edit]

Lin signed with the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League plus for 2015 but batted only .230/.333/.295 in 34 games. He then moved to his native Taiwan, and the EDA Rhinos drafted him in the first round of the 2015 CPBL Draft. He hit .244/.359/.372 in 20 games for the Rhinos in the 2015 CPBL. He improved to .345/.434/.570 in 2016, with 22 homers, 3 fewer than he had hit in his entire US career. In a high-offense league, he had 79 RBI and 77 runs in 107 games. He was 10th in the league in RBI (29 behind Hung-Yu Lin), 8th in homers (between Lin and Yung-Chi Chen), 6th in total bases (228, between Kuo-Hui Kao and Ssu-Chi Chou), 6th in OBP, 10th in slugging and 3rd with 54 walks (behind Chou and Chun-Hsiu Chen). He won his first Best Ten nod, joing Kao and Po-Jung Wang in the outfield. He also won a CPBL Gold Glove, joining Kuo-Long Lo and Wang in the outfield. He then starred in the 2016 Taiwan Series to help the Rhinos win their only title. Lin hit .423/.448/.462 with several nice plays on the center field, and he was named Series MVP.

In the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Lin started in all 3 Taiwan's game as the center fielder, and he was 2-for-10, with a homer against Chang-min Sim of South Korea. He hit .296/.375/.405 and he won his second Gold Glove in 2017. He stole home on Andy Van Hekken in the 2018 CPBL Playoff Series Game 4, and that was the first steal of home in the CPBL postseason. Lin's batting line was .438/.471/.563 in the whole series, but the Lions still eliminated the Fubon Guardians in 4 games.

Lin hit .278/.345/.425 with 10 homers in 2018, and he recorded a .314/.363/.469 batting line with 10 homers in 2019; he won Gold Glove in both years. He then represented Taiwan in the 2019 Premier 12, and he hit .278/.381/.444, with a homer off Ryan Searle of Australia. He was still stable in 2020, and he hit .291/.392/.455 with 9 homers. On October 16, Lin climbed the wall to rob Chieh-Kai Pan' of a home run, and it was voted as play of the year by the league. Lin slumped to .238/.334/.331 in 2021, and he injured his shoulder while trying a diving catch of Namoh Iyang's flyball on July 23. His season ended due to the injury, so he only played 23 games. Lin had a .240/.313/.311 batting line in 2023.


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