2023 MLB Draft Profile: Kyle Teel (Catcher)

AP Photo/Kara Durrette

Name: Kyle Teel
School: Virginia
Position: Catcher
Height/Weight: 6’1” 190
B/T: L/R
D.O.B. 2/15/2002

Scouting Report

After struggling last summer in the wooden bat Cape Cod League and Team USA, the left-handed hitting backstop has rebounded with monster numbers in the ACC this season. In 261 plate appearances in 2023, he slashed .414/.479/.678 with only 32 strikeouts and 28 walks. Often a harbinger of big-league success, his paltry numbers in a small sample in the Cap Cod league could be a concern for some teams. Throughout his collegiate career, he’s demonstrated the ability to limit strikeouts and take walks. He’s also hit for power and had a relatively consistent hit tool. The only aberrations are a .276 batting average in 2022 and the aforementioned dismal showing in the CCL.

Teel took his name out of consideration for the 2020 draft despite being a top 100 type talent in the class and decided to attend Virginia instead. MLB Pipeline ranks the backstop as the #10 overall player in the 2023 draft class. The 21-year-old is easily the top catcher in the group. Baseball America ranks the 6-1, 190 pounder as the 11th overall player in the class. Keith Law of The Athletic ranked Kyle Teel as the 6th best player in the draft in his most recent update to his top 100 draft eligible players as well.

With catchers, there’s usually a give and take versus offense and defense. The highly-athletic Teel appears to have this covered. His plus arm, baseball intelligence and leadership skills give him the ability to stay at catcher. If not, he’s quick enough to play the outfield, third base or even second. With little in the way of weaknesses, he’s ascending on draft boards. For a deeper look at Teel, check out Josh Nelson’s article from early March.

Kyle Teel — Open side Team USA
View from behind home plate Univ of Virginia

Why Would the White Sox Draft Kyle Teel?

With the 2024 starting catcher likely coming from outside the organization and no current catching prospect with a starter-level projection, adding catching talent to the farm system is an acute need. Yasmani Grandal is in the final year of his contract. His age and underperformance make him unlikely to return. Backup Seby Zavala is having a rough season, slashing .153/.189/.235 with a 40% K rate. The fact that he hasn’t been replaced by Triple-A starter Carlos Perez speaks volumes.

Known for stellar defense, Adam Hackenberg (.261/.356/.365, 11.4% BB rate, 22.7% K rate) is holding his own offensively in the rugged Southern league. Known for his defense, he’s likely a defense-first backup at the MLB level. Given these circumstances, drafting a catcher in the top 5 rounds is a must. If a talent like Teel is sitting there at 15, the need may be too great to pass up. Recent reports seem to make that an unlikely proposition however with Teel’s current stock rising consistently into the top ten.

Mock Drafts

Teel’s 2023 offensive performance has fueled his ascent up draft boards. In the most recent mock draft from Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline, the veteran draft analyst projected Teel to the Oakland Athletics with the #6 overall pick. Keith Law of The Athletic has the Virginia backstop projected to Oakland as well as the first guy off the board outside of the consensus top five group. In the most recent projection from Carlos Collazo at Baseball America, Teel becomes a Cincinnati Red with the 7th overall pick in the first round.

Kiley McDaniel of ESPN only has one mock draft published so far and he projected Virginia catcher Kyle Teel to the Kansas City Royals with the 8th pick in the round. Prospects Live projected the college catcher to the Chicago White Sox with the 15th overall pick in their most recent mock draft but that would be quite a surprise at this point in the draft process. In his latest update back in mid-May, Joe Doyle of Future Stars Series projected Teel to the Texas Rangers with the #4 pick in the draft as well.

College Statistics

2021 ACC

54 G, 209 AB, .335/.416/.526, .942 OPS, 141 R, 70 H, 11 2B, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 5 SB, 24 BB, 37 K

2022 ACC

58 G, 277 AB, .276/.402/.439, .841 OPS, 62 R, 61 H, 12 2B, 6 HR, 45 RBI, 3 SB, 41 BB, 36 K

2022 Cape Code League

8 G, 24 AB, .125/.276/.167, .443 OPS, 3 R, 3 H, 1 2B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, 4 BB, 8 K

2023 ACC

57 G, 261 AB, .414/.479/.678, 1.157 OPS, 59 R, 94 H, 24 2B, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 4 SB, 28 BB, 32K

Author

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