Kyle Teel might be late riser on Detroit Tigers draft board.
As the prep seasons start wrapping up across the country and the teams are locked in heading to Omaha for the College World Series, the last-minute draft board changes are coming in. The Detroit Tigers may very well be changing their draft board concerning catcher Kyle Teel.
Given how well Kyle Teel has handled himself as of late, the Detroit Tigers will not be the only team in the top half of the first round that has juiced him up their draft board. Teel has a lot to like about him, and his performance this season in 2023 has just really vaulted him.
While stretching to grab Teel at no.3 would go way against the narrative that has been plugged for months now, it will get some attention before draft day. Taking Teel at three would likely mean leaving the likes of Wyatt Langford, Walker Jenkins, or Max Clark on the draft board, pending on where those players are picked.
It's an intriguing possibility to see Teel sneak up the draft board, but it's not an impossible thought to think the Tigers are considering him, at least giving an argument as to why he might be the guy for them moving forward.
Teel is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound backstop who has been downright dominant for the Virginia Cavaliers, handling the catching duties in Charlottesville. He's got top-of-the-class tools defensively, being an elite athlete with the gear on.
He's having an absolutely fantastic season with the Cavaliers, putting up video game-like numbers with the stick. Teel has played in 63 games with UVA and has slashed .418/.484/.673 with 25 doubles, 13 home runs, and 69 RBI to his credit. He has a 33:31 K: BB ratio this season as well.
In the Perfect Game Top 400 Draft Board drop, Teel came in at no.12, and since then, he has continued to rise up and move up the rankings. He's a name with some helium, and the question is how high he can move up the board.
Frankly, Teel's a genuine two-way threat. The bat has made some leaps this year. He had a strong freshman campaign, showed flashes in 2022 as a sophomore, but really took off in 2023. It's been pretty impressive to see how well he has handled himself in the batters' box.
The stats speak for themselves, and nearly even strikeout-to-walk ratio is also insane. The swing is pretty too. He's a left-handed bat with a clean path through the zone. He has a really good whip to the hands and transfers the weight in sync. Plenty of feel for the barrel, being able to produce loud results as well. Here's an open-side and slo-mo look at the stroke from Teel.
To do Teel justice because the bat speed and barrel whip can be pretty darn impressive. Here's the regular speed version of the swing as well for your enjoyment.
But the bat is not even the best tool. The defense as a backstop is superior. Teel is someone who can throw out runners with ease. It's a power arm with quick catch-n-throw and the awareness to control the run game. He receives well, controlling the zone and working with pitchers well to be a clean receiver overall.
On top of that, he's made some pretty spectacular plays defensively. He truly is a high-IQ catcher with a ton of athleticism for a backstop. He's got tools that will bode well at the next level and are something that teams will be absolutely thrilled about this July.
Inconsistency in terms of his profile in the batters' box. This year has been exceptional, as Teel has been swinging a red-hot bat. It's been a dominant year in the batters' box for Teel, and there's more than enough reason to be really excited about the tools in the box, given his swing.
The weakness comes in what kind of hitter Teel could be. He has a swing that looks like it could be that of a power hitter: that power-hitting backstop or the catcher with some juice type of profile. The concern coming into the season was the hit tool itself after a rough sophomore campaign.
However, Teel put those concerns to bed and has been lights out. The question is if he will be a hitter with some occasional juice or a true power-hitting backstop. Do not get it twisted, there's plenty to like about Teel either way, but the inconsistency in the profile is something to note.
Fit with the Detroit Tigers
This is a tough one. For a couple of different reasons, Teels seems like a great addition, but also not so much. First of all, given the Detroit Tigers picking third overall and the setup of this draft class, it's hard to see Teel being the pick at no.3, but I also am not against it.
The Tigers would have to pass up someone like Wyatt Langford, the other player I am sold on at no.3, but it might be worth it. Teel's toolsy profile really intrigues me. Yes, the Tigers have Dillon Dingler in the minors and have brought in catchers to fill gaps, but they do not have the upside of Teel.
Teel's a backstop that will move well through the system and projects as a big leaguer with the impressive traits on both sides of the ball. So, as the draft inches closer, the thought of Teel at three seems to be more of a green-light scenario than not.
It would mean a tough decision regarding Dingler, but Teel certainly is worth the consideration when the Tigers are on the clock in this year's draft.