Some Minor League players would rather shun a comparison to a Major Leaguer than embrace one. They'd prefer to have fans recognize them as their own player instead of the next "Player X."
That's not the case with Sean Coyle, who at 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds has been compared to Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
"I wouldn't say I model my game after him," said Coyle, "but there are a lot of things he's done that I'd like to do myself. His hitting, his fielding and the amount of enthusiasm he brings off the field as well. In that respect, I want to be someone who works as hard as he does."
Boston's No. 17 prospect did a solid Pedroia impression Friday, going 3-for-5 with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs in Class A Advanced Salem's 13-4 win over Potomac.
Coyle's double in the game's second at-bat opened the floodgates of a six-run first inning for the Red Sox, whose victory was their most lopsided of the young season. He added a two-run homer in the fourth off Nationals starter Adam Olbrychowski (0-3) and a bases-loaded double in a five-run fifth.
It was the third time that the 2010 third-round Draft pick has driven in at least a half-dozen runs in his brief Minor League career.
"I love hitting with runners on base," Coyle said. "You don't try to change your approach, whether the bases are empty or if there are guys out there. But when you get the chance to drive guys in like tonight, I do like hitting in those situations."
Coyle is 14-for-38 (.368) over his last nine games and raised his batting average to a season-high .286. He has two homers and 12 RBIs in 13 games, ranking fourth in the latter category in the Carolina League.
While some could see Coyle's height as a detriment to his power numbers, he said he makes the best of what he's got.
"I've never really thought about it, but I guess my height could be deceptive," he said. "You always go back to the saying 'Good things come in small packages,' but I'm not trying to overdo anything because of my height. ... When guys think of a [No.] 2 or [No.] 3 hitter, they're thinking about a guy who is 6-foot and trying to drive the ball. And I'm trying to do that, but I'm obviously not that, either."
Coyle is starting his second full season in the Minors, so he has a long way to go before he can add to the Pedroia comparisons with success at higher levels. Until then, the 20-year-old second baseman would love a chance to talk shop with his 28-year-old counterpart, who broke into the Majors at age 22 in 2006 before earning Rookie of the Year and MVP honors over the next two seasons.
"I got into a couple of big league games during Spring Training but wasn't able to talk with him at all," Coyle said. "I'd definitely like to do that at some point though. Anytime you see [Major League] guys around, you want to pick their brains and see what they've learned over the years. Same goes for him."
Drew Hedman also homered and had three RBIs, while catcher Christian Vazquez doubled twice and drove in three runs of his own for Salem. Xander Bogaerts, MLB.com's No. 76 prospect, hit his first Carolina League triple before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth.