Mar 8, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Che-Hsuan Lin (85) hits a single against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox 9-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Boston Red Sox call up Che-Hsuan Lin

With the news that Jacoby Ellsbury will be out for at least six weeks with a dislocated shoulder, the Boston Red Sox have called up longtime minor league center fielder Che-Hsuan Lin.

The Pawtucket center fielder is ready to join the big-league club, and he has good speed in the outfield on defense and has a great arm. However, he does not utilize his speed effectively once on base and does not have much pop either. Some say that he needs to develop a line-drive stroke, but his defense is good enough to make him a useful option as a backup for the Red Sox now that Darnell McDonald will be starting.

It is thought that either McDonald or Cody Ross will play in center, and McDonald is definitely the better option at this point. He has much more speed than Ross, and Ross will be a complete liability in center. McDonald isn’t exactly a good defensive player either, but he is definitely better than Ross defensively.

Che-Hsuan Lin could become the next Jeremy Lin and play off-the-charts for a few weeks, but his true value is as a fourth outfielder right now. He’s actually a quality prospect with an arm that everyone raves about, and Lin should be able to do a decent job. He is just 23 and is one of the best Taiwanese players, although that isn’t saying much.

Although he has absolutely no power, he can get on base and owns a career .351 OBP in the minors, but it should be noted that his OBP was at .325 in 378 PAs last year in his first stint at AAA. Lin has good speed and great defense overall and is a good fit as the backup outfielder for now. He was their only CF to choose from and will look to make the most of this stint. I love his defense and think he is a decent prospect, even if his offense leaves something to be desired. But then again, backup center fielders aren’t known for their defense.

According to the Minor League Equivalency calculator with those totals put into the Simple War Calculator (2010 AA and 2011 AAA), Che-Hsuan Lin is a 0.6 WAR player over the course of a full season. He won’t be playing the full season, and hopefully Jacoby Ellsbury doesn’t have a torn labrum or rotator cuff as a result of the trauma from the partial dislocation in his right shoulder. Otherwise, they might have to count on a subpar backup for a few months.

He will receive minimal at-bats at this point, and his defense is good. Don’t expect to see him playing much, but the truth is that there are some teams with backup outfielders that are at Lin’s level. He isn’t a terrible player, but it’s telling that most people are setting the over/under on his OBP at .295.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Che-Hsuan Lin Cody Ross Darnell McDonald Jacoby Ellsbury Pawtucket

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