Sean Coyle

Prospect Sean Coyle learned hitting from Ted Williams

John Tomase
March 08, 2015 - 8:54 am
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Red Sox prospect Sean Coyle was supposed to start Sunday, but he took a ball off the lip in batting practice and was replaced in the starting lineup by Jemile Weeks. It's too bad Coyle can't play, because he's a fascinating prospect. Despite standing just 5-foot-8, Coyle has slugged 32 homers in the minors over the last two years. He doubled high off the wall at JetBlue on Saturday against the Twins, and it turns out he learned hitting by reading a fascinating teacher -- none other than Ted Williams. When Coyle was just a kid in Pennsylvania, he and his brother found an old copy of, "The Science of Hitting," and it forms the bedrock of his approach today. They started flipping through it as children, before they could actually read, to look at the famous illustration of Williams' average in each part of the strike zone, as denoted by baseballs. "My dad had 'The Science of Hitting' and the pages were falling out," Coyle said. "Me and brother went through it. At first we just liked to look at all the pictures of baseballs and averages. Then we started to read into it. It started there." Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield salutes Coyle's exceptionally strong lower half for generating his power, and Coyle said that comes from Teddy Ballgame. "I'm a firm believer in a lot of things Ted Williams had to say about hitting," Coyle said. "The hips lead the swing. Everything starts from the ground up, for sure." Because he weighs just 175 pounds, Coyle understands the skepticism over his ability to hit for power at higher levels. He takes his cue from Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "I look at him as someone who doesn't need to be 7-foot tall to act like it," Coyle said. "I really look up to him and how he goes about things and how he's unfazed and how he's confident despite what people have to say about him." Whether Coyle starts the year at Double-A or Triple-A, he'll always have the words of Williams to guide him. He said he can still remember which drawer in his dad's office the book sits in, though he now reads it online. "It's funny to come full circle and I'm now on the Red Sox," he said.