FORT MYERS FL: Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin #85 of the Boston Red Sox stretches during a Spring Training Workout Session at the Red Sox Player Development Complex in Fort Myers Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Che-Hsuan Lin, CF
Like Jose Iglesias, Lin has shown plenty of defensive ability over the years, but his bat always seems to lag well behind. It's the reason he's likely a bench outfielder in the majors -- albeit one who can help you out on the bases and in the outfield considerably -- but he had not yet found even his normal modest success at the plate in Pawtucket.
He's started to hit more recently, though, and it's helped to bring his line back to where we're used to seeing it. The .333/.410/.464 in his last 10 games has acted in the role of course correction, but he's been hitting all month long after an abysmal April that saw the Red Sox deal for Marlon Byrd rather than hand the center field keys to Lin in Boston.
Lin might have missed his opportunity thanks to that first impression for 2012. The Red Sox have a full 25-man roster, and while a Lin promotion would likely come at the expense of Byrd, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford aren't that far from returning, if the initial timelines are to be believed.
However, if Boston does end up needing him sooner than later, it's good to see that he might have finally acclimated himself to Triple-A.
Junichi Tazawa, RP
|2012||26||PAW||AAA||1.17||9||15.1||313||0.783||5.3||0.0||1.8||12.3||7.00||PAW · IL|
Tazawa is stuck in Pawtucket until the Red Sox can figure out a way to clear enough room in the bullpen and on the 25-man roster to bring him up, and that will take longer than it sounds like with Mark Melancon ahead of him on that particular depth chart.
He's continued to pitch well since being sent down, with two runs allowed in 8-1/3 innings, along with 12 strikeouts against just one walk. He just might be too much for Triple-A hitters, but maybe we'll have to wait until he starts striking out more hitters than he even faces to be sure of it.
As said, there's not a whole lot Boston can do until they start to move bullpen arms that are in the majors already, whether through trades or cuts. When that time comes, though, Tazawa will get his chance. And if the spot never does open up, and Melancon is the only one they can sneak through, he'll certainly get his chance in 2013. Bottom line: Tazawa will make an appearance when Boston needs him to, as they aren't likely to waste his arm in Pawtucket if there's a use for him in Boston.
Alex Hassan, LF
Things have not picked up for Hassan in May. He wasn't looking great at the plate last time around -- except, as usual, when it comes to drawing walks -- but flipping the calendar over made things worse. He's hit just .188/.325/.344 in the last 10 games, and .214/.346/.381 for the month.
The walks would be more exciting, but if they continue to be his primary asset offensively, then they will be taken away. If pitchers aren't afraid of challenging a hitter, then unless that hitter has something to make them regret their decision, he's going to struggle. Hassan hasn't slowed down on the walks front yet, but given time, it's a distinct possibility.
There's power hiding in him somewhere, but he'll need it if he wants to improve. His defense is not a point in his favor, and Boston does not lack for outfielders, especially when all the outfielder in question has done is walk slowly up to the door of the majors to knock feebly.
There are reasons to like Hassan, so don't take this as giving up on him by any means. But there are outfielders in Pawtucket closer to the majors than he is, and that's without counting Ryan Kalish, who has yet to leave extended spring training yet.