They can practically pencil each other in for a meeting at the on-deck circle every other night.
Sean Coyle, the Salem Red Sox’ leadoff hitter with the .313 batting average and eye-popping seven home runs through 14 games, will be trotting in after another deep ball.
Garin Cecchini, the No. 3 hitter with the Carolina League-best .398 batting average (as well as 16 extra-base hits and 10 stolen bases) shakes his head.
Cecchini is struck by how far the homers travel.
“Every one of his home runs were crushed,” Cecchini said.
“Every time he hits a home run, it’s in a clutch situation and I’m going on to the on-deck circle and I’m congratulating him.”
Cecchini marvels at how much pop the 5-foot-8-inch, 175-pound Coyle can generate.
“Every single time I’m telling him, ‘You midget, why don’t you put the team on your back!’ ” Cecchini said. “I think it’s pretty funny.”
They’ve known each other since they were high schoolers playing for USA Baseball’s Under-18 team, and now they’re working their way through the Red Sox farm system.
“It’s kind of like a headstart on a friendship,” Cecchini said. “It’s really fun to be around him and understand the way he plays the game and understand what’s going on in his head. You can take stuff from that.”
They have their own methods. Cecchini, recently named the Carolina League player of the week, treats every at-bat like a puzzle, which explains why he’s walked as many times this season (13) as he’s struck out (12).
“Just taking it pitch by pitch,” Cecchini said. “Trying to win each pitch and if you don’t, ‘hey, you get the next pitch.’ That’s the biggest thing for me this year.
“God has given me quick hands and a good eye, so just trusting what he’s given me, that was the biggest thing with my approach. Just trusting what I see.”
Coyle’s power numbers are even more impressive when you consider he missed a week with a thumb injury.
“Sean, obviously, is an unbelievable hitter and it’s always fun to watch guys that are really good hitters,” Cecchini said. “It’s really fun, watching him since high school and watching him hit now. It’s really cool to watch now. He has a lot of pop in his bat. I don’t have to say anything else, his numbers speak for themselves.”
Cecchini said they lean on each, which makes the process of learning and growing as players easier.
“When we fail, friends pick each other up, teammates pick each other up and when we succeed, they’re there with you at the top,” Cecchini said. “It’s a really cool thing when you have really good buddies on the team that understand what you’re going through. It’s pretty cool to have that kind of friendship.”
Three to watch
Travis Shaw: The Portland Sea Dogs first baseman/designated hitter is among the Eastern League leaders with his .429 on-base percentage. He has 25 walks, more than the two closest Sea Dogs, Christian Vasquez (13) and Xander Bogaerts (11), combined. Shaw had an eight-game hit streak earlier in the season, during which he went 12 of 33.
Chris Martin: Portland’s righthanded reliever has started the season by throwing 16⅔ scoreless innings. He’s allowed just one hit in his last four appearances, and he became just the fourth pitcher in Sea Dogs history to finish April with a 0.00 ERA while facing a minimum of 50 batters.
Mike Augliera: Salem entered Thursday unbeaten when Augliera, Boston’s fifth-round pick in 2012, takes the mound. He’s off to a 3-0 start, striking out 14 in 23⅓ innings with a 4.24 ERA. He went a season-high seven innings in his previous start, giving up two earned runs April 25 against Wilmington.
Barnes had bite
With 10 strikeouts Wednesday, righthander Matt Barnes finished two shy of matching the Portland record, set by Billy Buckner a year ago . . . PawSox infielder Jonathan Hee retired. He was drafted in 2008 out of Hawaii. He played all four infield positions last season between Portland and Pawtucket, and even pitched in two games for the PawSox . . . When Greenville Drive infielder Mike Miller landed on the disabled list last week with a pulled quadriceps muscle, his recent slump made sense. He hit .444 in his first 11 games, but then went 0 for 9 over the next four.