by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Baseball Prospect Journal.
The Pittsburgh Pirates own the #1 pick in the 2023 MLB Draft which is scheduled for July 9th-July 11th in Seattle, WA. This draft could be the final piece of GM Ben Cherington’s puzzle to catapult the Bucs into a yearly contender.
In the next few weeks, Draft 412 will showcase the top prospects coming out in 2023.
Name- Kyle Teel
Pos-C B-L T-R
Team- Stinton H.S. (TX)
HT/WT- 6’1” 190 lbs.
Home – Ridgewood,NJ
Kyle Teel is the best overall catcher in this draft and ascending draft boards as we speak. Considered a top 100 draft pick out of high school, Teel decided to take his name out of consideration for the 2020 Draft to attend Virginia.
Teel started right away at Charlottesville and put up numbers early. In his freshman season, Teel hit .335 with 9 home runs and 41 RBI. Teel would take a step backwards in his sophomore year, only hitting .276 with 6 home runs and he would struggle in the Cape Cod League that summer raising a few eyebrows. This season however, he would put it all together on the field and at the plate with huge numbers leading Virginia into the NCAA Tournament. Teel is hitting .418 with 13 home runs and 69 RBI and has been the catalyst to a Virginia Cavaliers run to a potential title. Virginia has advanced to the College World Series by defeating Duke 12-2 this past weekend.
Coming into the 2023 season he was honored with a Preseason All-American honors as well as a finalists for the 2023 Buster Posey Award (given to the nation’s best catcher).
Teel is a solid hitter with a smooth, compact left-handed swing. He projects to be a left-handed hitting catcher that can hit for average and could project 20-25 home runs. Teel has a good feel for the strike zone and will take his share of walks. Having gap power to all fields, Teel is a tough out at every at bat.
As a catcher, he checks all of the boxes. Mechanically, Teel is as good as it gets with a strong base and the athleticism to drop down to block balls. His cannon arm will be hard to run on even with the new rule changes.
He has above average speed for a catcher—and could be moved to a corner outfield or infield position (like a Craig Biggio was) to prolong his career. His baseball IQ and leadership skills are A+.
His two off-seasons in the Cape Cod League did raise some questions about his lack of results with using wood bats. He will have to show he can transition from aluminum to wood, but his stock shouldn’t suffer in this year’s draft because of it.
With the lack of left-handed hitters at the position to compare Teel to, Draft 412 sees some Omar Narvaez in his swing. Patrick Bailey of the San Francisco Giants is a good comparison as well, since Bailey is more on the athletic side and has a comparable swing.
Kyle Teel is the best catching prospect in this draft. The fact that he is a collegiate player who is getting big time at-bats in the College World Series will only help his stock. He could go anywhere from #6 to #20.
Round 1- Top 20/ #15 on Draft 412’s big board.