Top 50 Scouting Report: #43 OF Corey Coles

Top 50 Scouting Report: #43 OF Corey Coles

The Mets selected outfielder Corey Coles in the fifth round of the 2003 draft. Since then, Coles has climbed the ladder through his tough play in the field and his growing talent at the plate. His 2007 season was cut short by an ankle injury, but Coles' promotion to Triple-A this year shows there is belief he can be a legit contributor in the future. Here is a scouting report on Corey Coles.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Corey Coles
Position: Outfield
DOB: January 30, 1982
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 170
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

The 25-year-old outfielder returned to St. Lucie when camp broke last March following a career season in 2006 in which he hit .341 on his way to a Florida State League batting title. He got off to a good start in April, hitting .286 in 23 games earning a promotion to Binghamton, his first stop this season. After hitting .296 in 66 games with the B-Mets, he was off again, this time to New Orleans. Coles recognized the importance of the opportunities afforded to him.

"The overall experience I've got, and spending time in Double-A and Triple-A this year I think will go a long way for my game. Starting the year in St. Lucie, I had no thoughts of even making it to New Orleans this year, so I can't say enough about thankful I am. It feels good knowing [the organization] believes in what I can do," he said.

What Coles offers is a strong presence at the top of the order. He has shown himself to be an intelligent contact hitter who does not strike out often, and builds a high on-base percentage while utilizing his good speed on the bases. Although his statistics this season may not have been as attractive as those he posted in 2006, he attributes his education as a hitter to the quality of opposing pitchers he faced across three levels.

"The experience I gained seeing pitchers who have spent time in the big leagues and years at the higher levels who are on their way to the big leagues did a lot for me as a hitter and was the biggest thing I got out of the year," he said.

Coles is going to make a pitcher work to get him out. His acute plate awareness helps him extend at-bats and work to get the pitches he desires to drive. He does not compile a large amount of walks, but he will rarely swing himself out of at-bats which is perhaps his best offensive trait.

"I think I'm able to make a lot of contact. I don't like to strikeout so I try to have the best two-strike approach possible. Once in a while I get fooled or get a ball blown by me, but I'm still trying to fight pitches off or not swing at bad pitches. I'm trying to put the ball in play at all costs," said Coles.

When he does get on base, Coles is a threat. He will not blaze the base paths, but he can score from first on balls hit to the gap and swipe bags with raising success. As a leadoff hitter, he is always working to strengthen his ability to steal bases. He was successful in 11 of 17 attempts this past season—not far off his career 70 percent rate—as he presses to improve upon that part of his game.

"I have the speed to be a better stealer than I have been," he said. "I think my confidence hasn't been there when it comes to stealing. I think my biggest downfall is that I just don't want to get thrown out, but I can't have that attitude when I want to steal. Seeing pitchers over and over has helped, and looking for tips is a big thing I need to get better at too."

Coles' progress in all these areas came to a halt in early August when he severely sprained and tore multiple ligaments in his ankle. With surgeries a part of his past—he had shoulder surgery in September of 2006—he knows all about rehabbing, but he should be back to 100 percent by the start of spring training. During his rehab, he remained positive that he would not lose a step of his speed.

"I may come back even stronger and maybe a step faster because of all the work I did on my legs," he said. "I'm confident that my speed will return to at least where it was before the injury."

He hit only .200 in nine games with New Orleans, but even with the limited time Coles is eager to get back and prove that his skills can be a valued addition at the Triple-A level.

"Walking away with the tastes of Triple-A will allow me to do what I need to, to get back there this year. I worked out the nerves, and I'm excited to come back this season and just take off," he concluded.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2007

New Orleans

.200

30

6

0

1

5

1

2

3

.273

.233

2007

Binghamton

.296

274

81

1

22

36

9

24

44

.352

.358

2007

St. Lucie

.286

84

24

0

8

6

1

7

12

.337

.345

2006

St. Lucie

.341

458

156

1

45

65

21

48

59

.407

.421

2005

Hagerstown

.307

264

81

4

33

27

11

12

40

.342

.413

2004

Brooklyn

.278

237

66

2

20

40

10

17

31

.338

.371

2003

Brooklyn

.167

36

6

0

3

5

3

3

4

.231

.222

2003

Kingsport

.333

96

32

0

6

19

6

8

17

.396

.406



Batting and Power: Coles' offense primarily comes from his ability to lengthen at-bats, work opposing pitchers and then strike for solid contact when deep into counts. He has always boasted low strikeout totals, and his batting title in St. Lucie elevated his confidence at the plate to the point where he has become one of the premier lead-off hitters in the system. He possesses minimal home run power, but he can hit to all fields for extra-base power and stands to be a .300 hitter when fully healthy.

Base Running and Speed: Coles' speed, while not flashy, gives him a chance to be a proficient base stealer. He will need to increase his ratio in successful attempts, but that should come as his anticipation and pitch selection grows stronger. He has one 20+ steal season under his belt so far, but he could do that annually as he improves.

Defense: Coles uses his speed and smarts to play consistent in the outfield. He feels no ball should be out of his reach and busts out in each play with reckless abandon. He plays caroms of the wall very well and uses his speed to take appropriate angles to cut balls down and shorten hits. He has good arm strength but is still working to get his arm back to pre-surgery strength. He has spent time in all three outfield positions, and can play centerfield everyday in the minors, but projects best as a leftfielder in the big leagues.

Projection: At 25, Coles finds himself nearing a tipping point in his career. He will need to show he can hit in Triple-A like he did in St. Lucie if he is going to get his shot at the big leagues. His lack of home run power prevents him from being an everyday corner outfielder and his speed limits him in centerfielder. At best, he projects to be a fourth outfielder who can pinch hit or offer strong defense as an occasional starter or defensive specialist.

ETA: 2009. Finishing the year in New Orleans was a significant step despite the season-ending surgery. Although he did not hit much in his short time there, he should be a starter on the Zephyrs' squad next season. If he can get his offense to return to 2006 levels, he could see a late season call up to the Mets in September of 2008, but chances are he will crack the big leagues as a reserve outfielder the following year.

InsidePitchMagazine.com Recommended Stories