Through five minor league seasons, Tzu-Wei Lin had struggled to allow his performance to match his tools. He showed solid bat-to-ball skills and big league defensive potential but rarely made an impact on the field.
With little offensive impact—he hit .217/.281/.284 in 154 Double-A games in 2015 and 2016—his development seemed to stall in Portland.
Portland manager Carlos Febles felt compelled to intervene. He essentially dared Lin to start taking risks in the box, and to make use of the strength he had added since joining the Red Sox as an 18-year-old international free agent from Taiwan in 2012.
“He tried to encourage me . . . to try to finish my swing (and) hit the ball hard, instead of feeling for (the ball) and putting it in play, which doesn't do any good," Lin said through translator Mickey Jiang. “In spring training, Febles reminded me and said, 'Forget about the past. Throw it behind you. Look forward, and stick with your plan, trust it, be more confident, be more aggressive—especially in the box.' "