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October 6, 2010 at 11:03 AM

The Book: Sean Coyle

2B Sean Coyle
Date: October 1 and 2, 2010
Team: Fall Instructional League

Swing: Hitting from a crouched, spread-out stance, Coyle starts with his hands lower on his body before bringing them up into his load upon the pitch’s approach to home plate. Keeping himself balanced with a shorter stride, he quickly drives his hands down through the strike zone and whips a short stroke towards the point of contact, generating exceptional bat speed in the process that enables him to drive the ball hard when he squares it up. By keeping himself balanced and having very little head movement, he allows himself to see pitches well and stay back longer on what is being offered to him. Coyle is able to lead well with his hands to spray line drives to the opposite field and rely on his natural reactions to pull pitches, especially into the left-center gap where he shows a sweet spot of power. He will have to work to keep his hands on top of the baseball consistently to prevent himself from getting under balls elevated in the zone and hitting lazy flies or pops on pitches in that area. With a shorter swing, it remains to be seen how much plate coverage Coyle will be able to produce on balls on the outside corner and whether this will be an area that pitchers may be able to take advantage of against him.

Defense: Coyle shows solid footwork at second base and flashes a strong arm that allows him to get good velocity on his throws, even when he is off-balance. Displaying quick reactions and good instincts, he gets good reads off the bat, and has above-average range on balls to his right. Coyle looks like a natural defensively at second base and like a player that can round into an excellent defender as he continues his development. He is very smooth and fluid with his transfers. The ball gets out of his glove quickly, and he has a nice release when turning double plays around the bag. With more experience, Coyle should improve upon his footwork when turning plays at second base and learn how to protect himself from the oncoming runner, which will allow him to complete the play without getting tangled up as runners slide into him. Given his strong arm, it shouldn’t be a problem for him to throw with his weight moving in either direction or when he has to take a step back to continue the play.

Take: The first thing that sticks out about Coyle is how big and well-filled out his lower body is. With very strong and muscular legs, he has an excellent base and one that should enable him to produce some power despite his smaller stature. His quick, compact swing lends projection to him being able to produce a lot of contact as his approach matures in the professional ranks and evolve into a hitter that will hit for a higher average while displaying good bat control and the ability to drive balls into the gaps. While Coyle already shows strong signs of staying back on the ball and not over-committing himself to pitches, he will have to develop a better feel for what he can and can’t handle against top pitching, especially if he starts in full-season baseball in 2011. Coyle should not have a problem catching up to higher velocity fastballs, especially ones on the inside third of the plate, but will have to lay off ones elevated and away. He also will need to make adjustments to cover the outside corner with his swing and learn how to pick up more polished secondary pitches. By consistently keeping his hands on top of the baseball and working to keep them back on off-speed pitches, he should produce a lot of line drives as his career gets going and he will begin to track as a potential top-of-the-order hitter down the line. At 18 years of age and brand new to the system, Coyle has quite a bit of development ahead of him, especially in honing his approach as a professional, but there is a very nice overall package of tools to work with and he stood out at the Instructional League as a player to take notice of.