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October 15, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Cody Kukuk, Tzu-Wei Lin

This week, we enter the top 30 as we continue counting down SoxProspects.com's  top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and why they're ranked where we have them in the site's official end-of-season rankings.

#30: Cody Kukuk, LHP
2012 Team: GCL Red Sox
2012 Final Stats: 2-0, 0.90 ERA, 10.0 IP, 3 BB, 16 K, 0.60 WHIP.


Season in Review: Kukuk's 2012 got off to a delayed start when he was placed on the restricted list following a May arrest for DUI. It was a disappointing start for the 2011 seventh rounder, who only a few months earlier was given $800,000 to forgo college. Prosecutors dropped the charges, and once activated, the southpaw was assigned to the Gulf Coast League, making his season debut on August 6. When he did finally take the mound, Kukuk immediately showed why the Red Sox were so excited about him initially. Appearing in five games, he struck out 40 percent of the batters he saw while giving up only one run in 10.0 innings.

2013 Outlook: Because of his small 2012 sample, Kukuk is one of the harder prospects to peg for 2013. He will be 20 within a week of opening day and showed stuff that was dominant in the GCL, indicating that he may be in competition for a spot with Greenville. On the other hand, with only five appearances under his belt above the high school level, the Red Sox may opt to ramp Kukuk up slowly, keeping him in extended spring training and assigning him to Lowell. With a fastball in the 91-93 range that shows good natural movement and the makings of what could become a plus slider, Kukuk is someone to keep an eye on in 2013. If he can minimize the off-field distractions and focus on repeating his mechanics, he has a shot to move quickly up the rankings.


#29: Tzu-Wei Lin, SS
2012 Team: GCL Red Sox
2012 Final Stats: .255/.341/.318, 0 HR, 16 RBI, 16 BB, 28 K

Red Sox sign Taiwanese phenom Tzu-Wei Lin 
Romero leading Red Sox’ international scouting into new era

Season in Review: Lin was signed in June to a $2.05 million bonus, the largest given by the Red Sox to an amateur player out of Asia, and the second highest given by any team to a Taiwanese amateur. Lin was rated the #1 amateur in Asia during this signing period by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, based on reports of his excellent defense, speed, and contact skill. In his U.S. debut in the Gulf Coast League, the scouting community was impressed: after the season, Baseball America rated the 18-year-old the #8 prospect in the Gulf Coast League based on a survey of the circuit's managers. He also was named the Top Defensive Player at the 18-and-under World Baseball Championship in early September.

2013 Outlook: Although Lin signed in the same month, was given the same bonus and plays the same position as Sox first-round pick Deven Marrero, Lin will obviously follow a very different path. Marrero is a polished college player who is three and a half years older than Lin, while Lin has the added difficulty of a making a major cultural adjustment. Lowell is likely Lin's destination in 2013 as he adjusts to playing in America, with any slight chance of Lin heading to Greenville likely dimmed by the need to get both Marrero and Jose Vinicio reps at short at the organization's Single-A affiliates. Look for Lin to work on making harder contact, particularly from gap to gap. While Lin has shown ability to work counts, he will need to punish the mistakes he sees with a higher frequency. Considering that he will only turn 19 just before spring training, there is no rush to push Lin.


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Photo Credit: Cody Kukuk and Tzu-Wei Lin by William Parmeter