SoxProspects News

October 10, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Top 40 Season in Review: Kolbrin Vitek, Sean Coyle


For the next five weeks, SoxProspects.com will count down its top 40 prospects, recapping their seasons and why they're ranked where we have them in the site's official end-of-season rankings.

#36: Kolbrin Vitek, 3B
2012 Teams: Portland Sea Dogs/Lowell Spinners (Rehab)/GCL Red Sox (Rehab)
2012 Final Stats: .244/.288/.341, 1 HR, 12 BB, 49 K


Season in Review: It was a lost season for Vitek, the Red Sox' top pick in the 2010 draft, as he suffered an intercostal strain in late May, an injury he never fully recovered from. He appeared in only nine games for the Sea Dogs from that point forward, going 7 for 35 without an extra base hit, driving in only one run. Vitek got off to a solid start to the season, reaching base in his first 17 games, but he struggled from there on, ending up with a .242 batting average and .284 on-base percentage with Portland. It was an across the board drop from his 2011 numbers, as he also saw a big increase in his strikeout rate while his walk rate plummeted.

2013 Outlook: Vitek heads into 2013 looking for a reset after very little went right in 2012. While his first season and a half yielded some positives, he has yet to show the exceptional contact skill that had him rated a potential top 10 pick coming out of Ball State and led then-General Manager Theo Epstein to scout him personally at the MAC conference tournament. He will be Rule 5 eligible next offseason, so while he is nearly certain to begin the season back at Portland, do not be surprised to see him promoted sometime around mid-season if he gets off to a good start as the front office tries to determine how Vitek fits into the club's future plans. Questions also remain about where Vitek will fit defensively, so the time may be coming for him to prove one way or another whether he can handle third base.

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#35: Sean Coyle, 2B
2012 Team: Salem Red Sox
2012 Final Stats: .249/.316/.391, 9 HR, 63 RBI, 29 BB, 116 K, 16 SB


Season in Review: Like Vitek, Coyle saw his numbers fall across the board in 2012. However, digging deeper gives some indication that the diminutive second baseman made strides throughout the year. Coming off a 2011 season in which he posted an .826 OPS as a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League, Coyle entered the year as the #11 prospect in organization. He began the 2012 season as the second-youngest player at Salem, over two years younger than the average player in the Carolina League. Coyle initially appeared overmatched, submitting a disastrous first half: .211/.285/.343 with 75 strikeouts in only 242 at bats. After making some adjustments, Coyle looked like a player who belonged in High A, posting a .295/.355/.451 line after the break, and cutting his strikeouts to 41 in 195 at bats. One facet of Coyle's game that stayed consistent throughout the season was his baserunning - he went a perfect eight for eight in stolen base attempts in both the first and second half of the year.

2013 Outlook: As a 20-year-old in the Carolina League, growing pains could have been expected, notwithstanding Coyle's precocious production as a teenager. Still, it wasn't just the dropoff, but the way it occurred that was troublesome; with a strikeout in over a quarter of his at bats, and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.0. Those numbers put his developmental needs into clear focus. Coyle will likely begin 2013 with a repeat assignment to Salem. While an improvement to his overall stat line is likely, improvements in plate discipline and pitch recognition are necessary for him to regain his status as an impact prospect. Because of his youth, a resurgence would send Coyle rocketing back up the rankings.

Photo Credit: Kolbrin Vitek and Sean Coyle by Kelly O'Connor

 
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