Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
Che-Hsuan Lin brought speed, defense, discipline, and nothing else. Will he find a home now that his time in Boston is over?
Some prospects are mysteries. Take Garin Cecchini, for instance. Will his power emerge? Will he be able to keep stealing bases at higher levels? Where will his defense lead him? We may have our own individual opinions on this, but nobody can really be all that certain of any of those things.
For Che-Hsuan Lin, there was little mystery as to what he was. A speedy center fielder with a magnificent glove, an incredibly patient plate approach, and nothing else. The speed translated to a decent number of stolen bases, but not prolific numbers--not enough to make up for the non-existent power--and if he was patient, he didn't bring enough of a contact bat to bring his strikeout numbers down to the very low level they would need to be at to make the whole package work at the plate.
It was little surprise, then, when Lin's numbers took a big hit in Pawtucket. Pitchers realized they had nothing much to fear from him, threw the ball in the zone, and Lin did not respond well to the challenge. Such is the problem with either plate discipline or power as a lone offensive tool: if the pitchers know who you are, they can pretty well neutralize your strength at the plate.
Lin, as with so many other mid-level Red Sox prospects throughout the years, just wasn't enough for a team like Boston. Oh, sure, they were awful this year, and he did get a few appearances as a result. But if Lin's style doesn't play in the minors, it certainly wasn't going to do so up in Boston. With the Sox looking ahead to a tight 40-man roster and only really interested in keeping those who could potentially help the team in the long term, Lin was the one to take the cut, ultimately being picked up by the Houston Astros on waivers.
Maybe the Astros are where Lin will find a home, or maybe some National League team. He's not so incomplete a player that he cannot offer a lower-division team some help, be it as a late-inning defensive replacement or a pinch runner. His bat doesn't ever seem likely to come around to the point where he warrants regular time in a starting lineup, but I doubt we've seen the last of Che-Hsuan Lin.