The Rays love players that hustle and get the most out of their abilities. Their 16th rounder, Tommy Coyle, is a good example of that.
Coyle, who currently attends the University of North Carolina is just 5’7″, 169. And he’s not exactly Dustin Pedroia. But this pick actually has more to it than means the eye.
Coyle did not have a good season for UNC, hitting just .244. But he did a little bit of everything. He managed a .355 OBP, walking 40 times to 34 strikeouts. He hit 7 doubles, 6 triples, and 4 homers and drove in 29. He also had 6 bunts. And he stole 14 bases in 15 tries. Coyle is also a player who hit a little better previously, managing a .312 mark in 2011. His dip to .244 definitely dropped him this far. But he does a lot of things well.
Coyle has a nice, compact swing and has shown some nice bat speed at times, leading to some decent power. He has very good plate discipline and takes advantage of his size, but he makes too much contact for his own good and too much of it is on the ground. Coyle does have above-average speed and good instincts on the basepaths, but he is by no means a burner. His speed does help him defensively as he moves well and has a solid arm. Part of the reason for his struggles in 2012 was that the Tar Heels played him at shortstop, a position he was not exactly comfortable with. But Coyle did manage to survive, and while the Rays drafted Coyle as a second baseman, he will be able to handle short in a part-time role. It also tells you about Coyle that he battled all season to learn and get comfortable at the position. He’s a great team player, hustling out every play and giving his best in all facets of the game.
Coyle is an interesting pick because he has solid tools across the board with nice speed and he has shown quality bat speed in the past. Scrappy middle infielders don’t normally seem like upside picks, but Coyle does have a little upside. The Rays will get him signed and see what he can do.