Yi-Chuan Lin

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Yi-Chuan Lin (林益全)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Yi-Chuan Lin was the first position player to be named Rookie of the Year and MVP in the Chinese Professional Baseball League the same year. He then became the first position player to be named a two-time MVP four seasons later and won his third MVP in 2014, the first player to win that many.

Lin debuted for the Taiwan national team in the 2005 Asian Championship, which he led in home runs. He hit .250/.294/.313 as a part-time third sacker in the 2005 Baseball World Cup. In the 2006 Intercontinental Cup, he hit .135/.158/.162 as the starting third baseman for Taiwan. He batted .306/.342/.500 in the 2007 World Port Tournament - he tied Sidney de Jong for fifth in the tournament in home runs (2), tied Yosvani Peraza for 6th in runs (6) and was 6th in RBI (5). His offensive production was similar to the USA's third baseman, top prospect Pedro Alvarez. He helped Taiwan win a Silver Medal. In the 2007 Baseball World Cup, Lin went 0 for 1 as the backup third baseman to Tai-Shan Chang.

The Tainan native hit .130/.231/.174 for Taiwan in the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament as the starting third baseman. Despite his struggles, they won a spot in the 2008 Olympics. Lin had a couple defensive gaffes in a loss to the South Korean national team. In the second inning, he did not get to a grounder by Dae-ho Lee that reporters said was within his range. Later in the inning, he again did not get to a ball in close range of third hit by Jin-man Park. The two plays, coupled with a Che-Hsuan Lin miscue, contributed to two Korean runs and the win.

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Lin was the top pick in the 2007 CPBL Draft, taken by the Sinon Bulls. He had played for the amateur Fubon Bull previously. He did not play in 2008, as he was fulfilling his military commitment. In late 2008, he announced that he didn't want to play for Sinon when he came out of the military and that he wanted to remain an amateur. Lin changed his mind and signed with Sinon in March 2009, inking a deal with a signing bonus equivalent to $145,000. That was the second-largest bonus in CPBL history, behind Chung-Nan Tsai and even with Chang-Wei Tu, Chih-Yuan Chen and Yi-Cheng Tseng. Lin was 0 for 8 with two strikeouts as one of Taiwan's worst performers in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Lin had a great pro debut. Manning first base and hitting 7th, he was 3 for 4 in Sinon's 2009 opener. He reached 100 hits in 249 AB and 62 games, the fastest player to that mark in CPBL history to that point. On August 13, he set new CPBL rookie records for RBI (77, surpassing Tai-Shan Chang and hits (119, breaking the mark held by Chih-Wei Shih). Lin was selected into the 2009 CPBL All-Star Game as a rookie, and he was 0-for-2. He would never missed the event until 2022. Lin hit .348/.395/.543 for the 2009 CPBL campaign and drove in 113 runs, breaking Tilson Brito's CPBL record. He finished 4th in average (behind Wu-Hsiung Pan, Cheng-Min Peng and Wilton Veras), second in hits (169, behind Veras) and third in home runs (18, behind Chih-Sheng Lin and Chin-Feng Chen). He won a CPBL Gold Glove at first base and made the Best Ten. He was named Rookie of the Year and MVP, the third player and first position player ever to accomplish that double honor; En-Yu Lin had been the last pitcher to pull off the feat (in 2005).

In 2010, he was very good but not as dominant as the prior year; .330/.374/.453, with only 8 homers and 55 RBI. He became the fastest player in CPBL history in 200 hits (625 plate appearances, 577 at-bats, passing Hector Roa) and the fastest local player to 300 hits (224 games, edging Kuei-Chang Tseng, five short of Luis de los Santos's league mark). He tied for 6th in homers, was 9th in RBI, was second in average (27 points behind Peng), tied Chang for third in OBP, was 4th in slugging (between Chang and Chen-Yu Chung) and ranked 5th in OPS (between Fu-Hao Liu and Cheng-Wei Chang). The Bulls were swept by the Brother Elephants in the 2010 Taiwan Series; in game one, they were down 3-2 with two on and two out in the 8th but Lin was retired by Orlando Román. His batting line was .143/.188/.143 in the whole series. Lin represented Taiwan in the 2010 Asian Games and helped them to a Silver Medal. Lin hit .318/.383/.462 in 2011, finishing among the CPBL leaders in average (tied for 8th with Chung), doubles (29, tied for third with Kuo-Ching Kao and Chung), OBP (tied for 6th with Chih-Sheng Lin), slugging (5th, between Chung and Ssu-Chi Chou) and OPS (7th, between Chung and Chou). He also crushed a homer off Chia-Wei Lin in the 2011 CPBL All-Star Game.

Lin had a stellar season again in 2012. On May 10, he hit for the cycle, the 8th player in league history to do so, the first to do since Tai-Shan Chang in 2009. He became the fastest player to 100 doubles (365 games) and 500 hits (374 games, one ahead of Tseng). On August 19, he rapped his 42nd double of the season, off Matt DeSalvo to set a new CPBL record; Francisco Laureano had held the record since 1994. In the 2012 CPBL All-Star Game, he repeated his good performance in the last event, blasting a solo shot off Yen-Feng Lin. He finished the year at .371/.419/.573 with 46 doubles and 92 RBI, perhaps better than his rookie campaign. He was second in the league in average (.015 behind Wu-Hsiung Pan), RBI (2nd, 4 behind Tai-Shan Chang), runs (72, 8th, between Chou and Chih-Yao Chan), hits (167, 2nd, 5 behind Cheng-Wei Chang), doubles (by 10 ahead of Tai-Shan Chang), homers (13, tied for 6th with Kuo-Ching Kao), total bases (258, 4 ahead of Chou), OBP (3rd behind Pan and Chou), slugging (3rd behind Pan and Chou) and OPS (3rd behind Pan and Chou). Chou was named MVP and Lin didn't even make the Best Ten as Tai-Shan Chang was picked at DH (Lin's main position in 2012).

In the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he went 3 for 9 with 3 doubles, 3 runs, a walk and 5 RBI to help Taiwan advance to the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He finished among the tournament leaders in doubles (1st) and RBI (4th, one behind Scott Campbell, Chien-Ming Chang and Yung-Chi Chen). He saw less action in the Classic itself, as Taiwan went with a starting infield of Peng (1B), Yen-Wen Kuo (2B), Chih-Sheng Lin (SS) and Yung-Chi Chen (3B) with Chou at DH. He got one start, hitting 7th and playing DH against Australia. He grounded out in the second versus Chris Oxspring and in the third against Dushan Ruzic then was lifted for pinch-hitter Hung-Yu Lin. In a win over the Dutch national team, he batted for Kuo and flew out against Shairon Martis. In a loss to Japan, he batted for Chiang-Ho Chen to lead off the bottom of the 9th. With the score 3-3, he singled off Kazuhisa Makita and Han Lin pinch-ran but failed to give Taiwan the winning run.

The Bulls became the EDA Rhinos in 2013 and Lin hit .357/.415/.549. On August 7, Lin became the fastest player to 700 hits (516 games, 40 ahead of Kuan-Jen Chen). He was among the CPBL leaders in almost every category: RBI (79, 2nd, 11 behind Tai-Shan Chang), runs (66, 4th), hits (149, 1st, 111 ahead of Hung-Yu Lin), doubles (26, 5th, between Chin-Lung Hu and Peng), homers (18, 1st by 4 over Kuo-Hui Lo), total bases (229, 1st by 27 over Lo), average (first, .007 ahead of Lo), OBP (tied with Hung-Yu Lin for second, .004 behind Lo), slugging (2nd, .017 behind Lo) and OPS (2nd to Lo). He also had a 3-for-4 record with a RBI in the 2013 CPBL All-Star Game. In the 2013 Taiwan Series, he hit a two-run, go-ahead homer off Ching-Ming Wang in Game 3 but the Rhinos fell, 3-2; they were swept by the President Lions. Lin won the MVP, the 5th two-time winner in CPBL annals but the first position player to do so; pitchers to do so were Yi-Hsin Chen, Chin-Hsing Kuo, Mike Garcia and En-Yu Lin.

In 2014, Lin kept up his stardom - .346/.398/.510 with 88 RBI. Lin broke another hits record, becoming the fastest player to 800 hits (611 games, 24 ahead of Kuan-Jen Chen). He attended the 2014 CPBL All-Star Game, and he was 2-for-3 with a RBI. Lin finished second to Hu in average (.004 shy), second in hits (161, one behind Hu), third in homers (14, behind Kuo-Hui Kao and Hung-Yu Lin), led in RBI (15 ahead of runner-up Chih-Sheng Lin), second in OBP (.017 behind Peng), led in slugging (.022 ahead of Hung-Yu Lin), tied Hu for the run lead (81), led in doubles (32, 4 ahead of Shih-Hao Huang) and led in total bases (237, 25 ahead of Hu). He fielded .994 at 1B and won the Gold Glove. He also made the Best Ten and became the league's first three-time MVP, beating out Kai-Wen Cheng.

Lin was still productive in 2015. He reached 1,000 career hits on July 18, and he was the fastest to reach this benchmark (744 games, 93 ahead of Chih-Sheng Lin). He hit .367/.422/.586 with 23 homers in this season, and he broke his old CPBL record with 126 RBI in a season. It is still the CPBL record as of 2023. Lin was 2nd in hits (5 behind Hu), 4th in doubles (3 behind Chun-Hsiu Chen), 7th in runs (23 behind Kao), 5th in homers (16 behind Kao), 3rd in total bases (40 behind Kao) and 5th in walks (17 behind Chih-Sheng Lin). Lin took back the Best Ten and Gold Glove as a first baseman again. He then represented Taiwan in the 2015 Premier 12, and he hit .353/.389/.471.

The 2016 season was another gorgeous season for Lin. His batting line was .350/.416/.530 with 17 homers, and he won both Best Ten and Gold Glove honors. He ranked 5rd in batting (.064 behind Po-Jung Wang), 4rd in hits (54 behind Wang), 8th in doubles (16 behind Wang and Hung-Yu Lin), 9th in RBI (27 behind Lin) and 6th in walks (16 behind Szu-Chi Chou). He hit .409/.536/.727 with 2 homers in the 2016 Taiwan Series, and he finally won his first Taiwan Series title as the Rhinos beat the CTBC Brothers in 6 games. EDA then sold the team, and the Rhinos became the Fubon Guardians.

Lin represented Taiwan in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and he hit .273/.357/.455 with 3 RBI; only Chih-Hao Chang had more RBI for the team. After the event, he had a conflict with his teammate, All-Star outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin. Che-Hsuan thought Yi-Chuan didn't put enough effort on defense, and several Fubon players like Kao, Kai-Lun Chen, Kun-Sheng Lin and Wei-Ting Lin also supported Che-Hsuan on the internet. After manager Chun-Chang Yeh's coordinate, the dispute was solved. Lin's batting wasn't influenced by the event, and he hit .353/.420/.551 with 17 homers. He was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and 2 doubles in the 2017 CPBL All-Star Game. Lin was 3rd in batting (.054 behind Po-Jung Wang), 3rd in hits (42 behind Wang), 9th in runs (51 behind Chieh-Hsien Chen), 8th in RBI (30 behind Wang), 8th in homers (14 behind Wang) and 6th in walks (15 behind Wang). He won the Best Ten again.

The former MVP slumped to .315/.366/.458 in 2018, and he only hit 8 homers. He was 9th in batting (.060 behind Chun-Hsiu Chen) and 5th in doubles (8 behind Chih-Hsien Chiang]]). He shined in the 2019 CPBL All-Star Games, having a 4-for-7 record with 2 runs scored. Lin bounced back in 2019, hitting .324/.373/.573 with 27 homers and a league-leading 108 RBI. On June 6, he became the fastest to reach 300 career doubles, as he only used 1,142 games. He ranked 7rd in batting (.064 behind Li Lin), 8rd in hits (19 behind Yu-Hsien Chu), 4th in doubles (4 behind Chih-Chieh Su), 2nd in homers (3 behind Chu) and 3rd in walks (11 behind Su). He didn't win the Best Ten through, losing it to Chu.

Lin extended his solid performance in 2020, hitting .312/.361/.527 with 22 homers. He ranked 9th in batting (.048 behind Chieh-Hsien Chen), 7th in RBI (21 behind An-Ko Lin) and 7th in homers (10 behind Lin). He won his first Best Ten as a DH in 2021, and his batting line was .286/.335/.446 with 11 homers. He crushed his 200th career homer off Kuan-Yu Chen on September 4, and he was the third player to reach this benchmark (after Tai-Shan Chang and Chih-Sheng Lin). The veteran struggled in 2022 as he only hit .259/.308/.340 with one homer. On September 16, he passed Tai-Shan Chang and became the all-time doubles leader of the CPBL with his 378th career double. Lin was then released by the Guardians, and the Lions picked him up. He bounced back in 2023, hitting .306/.357/.387 with 3 homers. He was 0-for-7 in the 2023 CPBL Playoff Series, and the Lions lost to the Rakuten Monkeys.

As of 2023, Lin led the league in career doubles (16 ahead Tai-Shan Chang), ranked 4th in runs (206 behind Cheng-Ming Peng), 3rd in RBI (10 behind Chang), 3rd in homers (95 behind Chih-Sheng Lin), 3rd in hits (155 behind Chang) and 10th in walks (474 behind Peng).