Kyle Teel boasts a team-first mindset

Kyle Teel had the chance to make history in 2020. The state of New Jersey never had a high school catcher selected in the first 10 rounds of the MLB draft. Teel likely would have heard his name called in the shortened 2020 draft, which was only five rounds due to the pandemic.

But about a month and a half before the draft occurred, Teel informed major-league teams he was honoring his commitment to the University of Virginia. He valued the education and development he would receive at Virginia. He also believed he would get drafted after three years in college.

The decision has paid off for Teel. He has served as a starter since his freshman year and a quality contributor on two NCAA Tournament teams at Virginia.

“It’s been a great experience,” Teel said. “It is so awesome to go out every day with a group of guys I love and compete with them and win ball games. I’m looking forward to this season.”

Three years after opting out of the draft, Teel is once again draft-eligible and in the mix to go in the early rounds of the draft. Scouts believe Teel is one of the top draft-eligible college hitters and a potential first-round pick in July’s draft.

Despite the draft attention, Teel has a team-first mindset and hopes to play a pivotal role in leading Virginia deep into the postseason this season.

“It’s really important to focus on the team and try to get better every single day,” Teel said. “I have to let all the draft stuff happen. I just feel like that is something that naturally happens.”

Teel is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound catcher known for his advanced athleticism and ability to hit for average and power from the left side of the plate.

He was an average power hitter in his first two years, tallying 15 home runs. He added strength to his frame this offseason and believes it will translate to an improved ability to drive the baseball with authority this spring.

Teel is a smart hitter with a plan at the plate, showing an advanced approach. He recorded 41 walks compared to 36 strikeouts in 277 plate appearances last season.

Besides his offensive tools, Teel has a high baseball IQ, quality leadership skills and a team-first mindset, which all draw high marks from scouts.

“Being able to lead a team is very important if you want to be a good ballplayer and win a national championship,” Teel said. “I’m really looking forward to stepping into that role this year.”

Defensively, Teel has played catcher, left field and right field at Virginia. He has the chance to remain behind the plate in the future due to his skills and potential. Besides his notable athleticism, he possesses above-average arm strength and improving blocking skills.

This spring, Teel is focused on leading a pitching staff and enhancing his defensive abilities.

“It’s all about consistency,” Teel said. “It’s all about trying to improve on being consistent in everything I do on and off the field. That is my main focus this year.”

Teel will anchor Virginia’s lineup and play a vital role in the team’s success this spring.

Virginia qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season last year. They lost in the regional, posting a 39-19 record. In 2021, they went 36-27 record and advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Cavaliers enter this season as a top-25-ranked team. Teel hopes to lead the Cavaliers to the College World Series and to their second national title in program history.

“Going to Omaha my first year was a great experience,” Teel said. “We didn’t win it, and that really fired me up. It’s driving me to want to win it this year.”

Read more in-depth stories on top 2023 MLB draft prospects at Baseball Prospect Journal.

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Video of Kyle Teel.

Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today,, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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