Kyle Teel C Virginia
Drafting a catcher, college or otherwise, is always a risk. The defensive side of the position takes so much longer to learn and in order to stay at the position it requires constant scouting work with your pitchers in a way that no other position does. Having a catcher like Adley Rutschman who can hit for average and power as a switch hitter while also playing Gold Glove defense doesn’t come along all that often, and Kyle Teel didn’t appear to be that guy until this season.
MLB.com says in their scouting report that he was more of a hit over power guy in high school and he’s struggled to try to be both in his time at Virginia. He had a rough sophomore year where he batted just .276/.402/.439. The power numbers weren’t enough to outweigh the struggles to put the bat on the ball consistently even if he did walk more often than he struck out.
This year though, he’s hit .418/.484/.673 which mark career highs in all three categories as a junior. He’s hit more than twice as many homers and doubles as he did last year and he’s walking almost as often (31) as he’s striking out (33). Beyond that, most scouts really believe in his defensive skill set to be able to stick at the position but agree that he has the athleticism to play the outfield as well.
Here’s what Keith Law had to say about him for the Athletic:
"Behind the plate, he’s agile with a plus arm and receives well, needing some work on framing and handling pitches low in the zone, which he tends to catch by dropping the glove first before moving back up towards the bottom of the zone. I’ve compared his ceiling before to a left-handed-hitting Jason Kendall, a guy who puts the ball in play a ton, runs very well for a catcher, and is an asset on defense."- Keith Law
I don’t know that I love drafting a catcher when the window for this team is supposed to be wide open over the next couple of seasons and he’ll likely be a couple of years out as he learns not only to be a pro hitter, but also works on his receiving skills as well. However, if there were a guy worth taking that risk on, Teel may very well be him.