Tzu-Wei Lin

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Tzu-Wei Lin (林子偉)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Tzu-Wei Lin has played in the majors. He is a cousin of Chih-Hsien Lin and brother-in-law of Chih-Chieh Lee, both of whom have played professionally.

Lin hit .519/.594/.704 with 6 runs and 7 RBI in seven games in the 2009 World Youth Championship, fielding .897. He was 6th in average (between Guillermo Aviles and Manuel Paez), 8th in OBP (between Adolfo Lopez and Kevin Kramer), tied for 9th in hits (14) and tied for 4th in double plays turned (5). He was even better in the 2010 World Junior Championship, producing at a .607/.656/.929 clip with 12 runs and 11 RBI in 7 seven games as Taiwan won the title; he had 20 error-free chances in the field. He led the tourney in average (.042 over Michael Lorenzen), slugging (.059 over Lorenzen) and OBP (.026 over Lorenzen), runs (two over Aviles, Francisco Lindor and Tony Wolters), hits (17, 4 more than Lindor and Lorenzen), doubles (4, tied with six others) and total bases (26, 6 more than Aviles, Lindor, Lorenzen or Blake Swihart). He also was second in RBI (one behind teammate Hong-Sheng Yang) and tied for second in swipes (one behind Petr Sila). He was 5-for-5 against Australia, had four hits against Canada and drove in four in the 8-4 Gold Medal game win (also against Australia). He was named the tournament's Best Defensive Player, All-Star third baseman and MVP. All this despite being 16 in a 18-year-old-or-younger event.

In the 2011 Asian Junior Championship, he batted .476 with two home runs, eight runs and seven RBI in five games. He was named an All-Star outfielder. As Taiwan's starting shortstop in the 2012 World Junior Championship, he was not as dominant as he had been in the World Juniors two years prior; he hit .308/.457/.346 with 5 runs in 8 games, fielding .977. He missed the top 10 in OBP by .006 and led all players with 31 assists. He was named the Best Defensive Player again.

The Boston Red Sox signed him for a $2,090,000 bonus in 2012; it was the highest bonus to that point for a Taiwanese position player (breaking Chin-Feng Chen's record) and second-highest for a Taiwanese amateur free agent (only Chin-Hui Tsao was higher). The scouts were Louie Lin, Jon Deeble and Eddie Romero. Tzu-Wei hit .255/.341/.318 in his US debut with the 2012 GCL Red Sox. Baseball America named him as the #8 prospect in the Gulf Coast League, between Pirates Dilson Herrera and Tyler Glasnow. He was one of two Taiwanese guys on the list, as Jin-De Jhang (also Pirates) came in at #19. Baseball America named him the fastest Red Sox prospect despite 4 steals in 6 tries and one triple in 29 games; he did score 21 times.

Lin had a disappointing 2013 with the Lowell Spinners (.226/.312/.296 in 60 G) considering his high-profile signing and amateur stardom. He fielded .929 at short, up from .902 in '12. His 21 errors led the New York-Penn League's shortstops. With the 2014 Greenville Drive, offense remained a concern (.229/.315/.296) while defense improved again (.947). He split 2015 between the Salem Red Sox (.281/.331/.367 in 76 G) and Portland Sea Dogs (.202/.268/.266 in 46 G), with 23 steals in 29 tries for the year, 6 triples and a .957 fielding percentage at shortstop. He was 6th in the Red Sox chain in swipes and tied for 5th in triples.

In the 2015 Asian Championship, Lin starred for the second-place Taiwanese national team, He went 8 for 16 with 3 walks, six runs and six RBI in five games, starting at 2B (fellow minor leaguer Yu-Cheng Chang took short). He tied Yu-Ning Tsao for the team lead in hits and runs and tied Tsao, Chang and Min-Hsun Chang for second on the team in RBI (behind Chih-Chieh Su). Only Chuang Na and Woo-sung Lee had more hits in the event, with 9. Of the six US minor leaguers on the team, he had reached the highest level of the minors to that point. In the fall, he hit .208/.296/.229 for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League, backing up Christian Arroyo at shortstop. His offensive level remained poor with the 2016 Sea Dogs - .223/.287/.293 - and his base-stealing was down (10 SB, 7 CS). He started 2017 with a bang, though (.302/.379/.491, 31 R in 48 G) with Portland and went straight to the majors when Josh Rutledge went on the DL.

His major league debut came as a pinch-runner for Christian Vazquez for the Red Sox on June 24, 2017. He was the 4th Taiwanese position player in MLB, following Chin-Feng Chen, Chin-Lung Hu and Che-Hsuan Lin. His first hit came off Jose Berrios.

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