June 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM
|Tzu-Wei Lin (nesn.com)|
The Red Sox have inked shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin from Taiwan to a $2.05M contract, reports SoxProspects.com Editor-in-Chief Mike Andrews, and assigned him to the Gulf Coast League. The money given to Lin equals the contract signed by first-round draft pick and fellow shortstop Deven Marrero.
Lin, 18, is rated the #18 international prospect and the #1 prospect in Asia by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. He originally had an agreement with the Yankees as a 16-year-old in August 2010, but the $350K contract was apparently invalid and the deal fell through. Since that time, Lin's stock has only risen, winning the 2010 IBAF 18-under Player of the Year award, and dominating the 2011 Asian BFA Junior Tournament, going 10 for 21 with two home runs, eight RBI, seven runs scored and two stolen bases.
The Taiwan Baseball Blog has an extensive scouting report on Lin, with the highlight his fantastic 3.79 speed to first base. His defense also rates as well above average, though there is the possibility that the combination of Lin's blazing speed, strong throwing arm, and the Red Sox' organizational depth at shortstop will result in a move to center field. While his small stature, standing only 5-foot-9 and weighing 155-160 pounds, contributes to what is considered below-average home run power, Lin profiles to hit for excellent gap-to-gap power due to his excellent hand-eye coordination and ability to square up on the ball.
The contract is the second highest in major league history given to a Taiwanese player, trailing only the $2.2M deal given to Tsao Chin-hui by the Rockies in 1999. It is the largest bonus given to the Red Sox for an amateur player out of Asia, topping the $1.8M given to Junichi Tazawa in December 2008.