How does Sean Coyle fit into the Red Sox’ future plans?


Jul 13, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; USA infielder Sean Coyle flies out in the first inning during the All Star Futures Game at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox fans got a treat this Sunday to not only see the Red Sox eclipse the Astros by a score of 11-0 but also to see a glimpse of the team’s future. The Red Sox had two representatives in this year’s All-Star Futures Game. One of those representatives, Henry Owens, is a well-known figure to prospect enthusiasts as the 6’6″ left-hander is coming into his own this season with a 2.21 ERA in Double-A Portland. The other representative, however, is not regarded as highly as Owens and does not have star potential; however, an excellent start to the 2014 season has shown the world a glimpse of what relatively unknown prospect Sean Coyle may be able to accomplish in his Major League career. The only question is how he’ll be able to accomplish it in Boston.

Coyle was selected from a Pennsylvania high school in the third round of the 2010 MLB draft. Since then, he has shown flashes of potential but has rarely stayed healthy enough to show a prolonged period of success. However, he is showing that prolonged success and so much more in the first few months of the 2014 season. Coyle has slashed .336/.412/.585 with 11 home runs and 13 stolen bases in just 242 plate appearances in his first taste of Double-A Portland.

If Coyle is able to maintain anything close to that production, which is admittedly unlikely due to his unsustainable .408 BABIP, his bat will play anywhere. At this point, however, the bigger question is where his glove would play.

Coyle is a natural second baseman, but just like Mookie Betts: the top second base prospect before him, he will need to change positions in order to play in Boston given Dustin Pedroia‘s hold on the position. Versatility is not a huge issue for Coyle; he has played a good deal of third base this season in order to accommodate Betts when he was in Portland. However, third base will also likely be occupied in the coming seasons as either Xander Bogaerts or Garin Cecchini is expected to hold down that position in the team’s future plans.

Despite his status as a solid infielder, Coyle may need to move to the outfield to fit into the Red Sox’ lineup of the future. Given his slightly above-average speed and solid-average arm, Coyle could potentially slot in at a corner outfield position or he could take a page from Brock Holt‘s book at just develop into a super-utility man. If he is not traded and continues to hit the ball like he has throughout the season, the Red Sox will have to begin exposing him to different positions. Despite not being a highly-ranked prospect, the Red Sox could have something special in Coyle and need to find a way to fit him into the lineup.