By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Seattle Mariners draft pick Lyle Lin has decided to attend Arizona State University, where he will play baseball for the Sun Devils instead of starting his professional career for a Mariners minor league team. Lin made the announcement via an Instagram post earlier this summer after the Mariners drafted the senior catcher out of Juniperro Serra High School in Southern California.
Lin was drafted in the 16th round, 447th overall, in this year’s Major League Baseball amateur draft on June 11.
With Lin going to school, it means that the Mariners will not retain his rights unless they draft him again.
The Mariners pick made Lin the first Taiwanese-born player drafted in the MLB draft.
His 3 years of play in high school was enough to draw the eyes of major league scouts.
Lin helped his team into the high school baseball playoffs in Southern California.
He was named a 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game honorable mention All-American. The 6-foot-2 inch, 200 pound Lin would have made a great addition to the Mariners, but as a late-round draft pick, it was likely he would have spent the next several years in the minor leagues before having the opportunity to play for the Mariners.
By passing on the Mariners, Lin can only improve his draft status with time in college.
Lin grew up playing baseball in Taiwan, as he saw his father toss the ball around. He became drawn to the sport and found it to be his passion. After his freshman year in high school, he decided to move to Southern California where his older sister was attending the University of California, Santa Barbara. Lin wanted a chance to play baseball and a big part of coming to the United States was to learn the game and have an opportunity to play.
Leaving his parents, who live in Taiwan, and without firm knowledge of the English language, Lin spent his first year in the United States as a high school sophomore learning to adjust to the language and culture. He also adjusted to living with a host family in Orange County, Calif.
As a catcher, Lin had to communicate with pitchers and others on the field. Thus, he pushed himself to learn English.
Lin used humor to overcome any barriers and became one of the more outgoing players on the Juniperro Serra baseball team.
He spent this summer in Taiwan and will start at Arizona State this fall.
Jason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.