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SoxProspects News

October 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Myles Smith and Tzu-Wei Lin

For the next five weeks, SoxProspects.com will count down its season-end top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and previewing what's ahead for them in 2014. You can find all of the entries in this year's series here.

#38: Myles Smith, RHP
2013 Teams: GCL Red Sox/Lowell Spinners
Final Stats: 10 2/3 IP, 0-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.47 WHIP, 12 K, 0 BB


Season in Review: After he was selected in the fourth round by the Red Sox out of NAIA Lee University, things got off to a bumpy start for Smith. He was the last of Boston's top 10 picks to sign amid unconfirmed rumors about either side of the negotiations reneging on an agreed-to bonus, and he eventually received a $400,000 signing bonus the day before the signing deadline. However, once he started pitching, things took off for the right-hander, who had only committed to pitching full-time in 2012. In four, two-inning starts in the Gulf Coast League, Smith allowed just three baserunners, on a single, a hit-by-pitch, and a fielding error, while striking out eight. That dominant performance earned him a promotion to Lowell for one start, the Spinners' final game of the season, and he gave up two runs on four hits, striking out three in 2 2/3 innings.

First-Hand Report and 2014 Outlook: In a system loaded with power arms in the high minors, Smith generates velocity in a unique way. At 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Smith's frame is on the smaller side, but he's still able generate velocity that's comparable to that of large-framed peers like Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo. His loose, fluid arm action generated a fastball with arm-side run that sat 92-93 mph and touched 96 mph in the first inning of my only look at him this year. That settled around 90-92 mph as the outing progressed, but he showed a tight slider with above-average potential and recorded a strikeout on a changeup, his best secondary offering, in that look. Since Smith had just one outing in Lowell this year, a logical placement would be in Greenville for his age 22 season. – Jon Meoli


#37: Tzu-Wei Lin, SS
2013 Team: Lowell Spinners
Final Stats: 261 PA, .226/.312/.296, 1 HR, 28 BB, 59 K, 12 SB


Season in Review: Lin drew an assignment to Short-Season Lowell in his first full pro season. The slick-fielding shortstop had a campaign to forget at the plate, trending downward as the season went on, perhaps due to the fatigue common in young players adjusting to the grind of pro ball (see more on this below). Things culminated in a .167/.247/.179 line in August as he went 14 for 84 and ceded a healthy number of starts to GCL call-up Deiner Lopez in the latter half of the month. Lin did show some proclivity for drawing walks early on, drawing 17 as compared to 22 strikeouts in his first 27 games, but that ratio skewed to 11 to 37 in the final 32 games.

First-Hand Report and 2014 Outlook: The first thing that stands out with Lin is his lack of size. He has a small frame and lacks present strength. He is athletic and looks very natural on the diamond, but I do not see much projection in his body as he matures. Presently, his glove is ahead of his bat and he has the potential to be a plus defender at a premium position. His actions are smooth at short and he has plus range. He has strong defensive instincts reading the ball off the bat and takes good angles to the ball. Presently, his arm is only average to slightly above-average, but he has a quick release and has shown the ability to make the throw from deep in the hole. Lin does have a tendency to get a little lazy with his footwork and take things too casually, resulting in a few too many errant throws and misplayed ground balls.

At the plate, Lin’s best tool is his speed. He is a plus runner and gets out of the box quickly thanks to his slap-hitting style. His swing path is short and he has shown quick hands and solid batspeed. He likes to let the ball get deep and works almost exclusively to left field. Lin has little present power and does not project to be better than well-below average there in the future. He did show off solid pitch recognition skills and plate discipline early in the season, but as the season went on, he regressed in both areas. Getting stronger is key for Lin, as that will help him both at the plate and generally handling the rigors of pro ball. After a poor end of his season, how Lin performs in Spring Training will go along way in determining whether he breaks camp with Greenville or stays back in extended and repeats Lowell, although the former is more likely. – Ian Cundall

Photo credit: Myles Smith by Lee University Athletics, Tzu-Wei Lin by Kelly O'Connor.