Evaluating Teel's progress in prospect's quest for Fenway

May 27th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Ian Browne’s Red Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

BALTIMORE -- It was 10 months and two weeks ago the Red Sox selected with the 14th pick in the 2023 Draft. At that point, Teel developed an immediate label: Boston’s catcher of the future.

This seemed like an appropriate time to evaluate where Teel -- Boston's No. 3 prospect who has a slash line of .353/.443/.515 in his first 68 at-bats of May -- is in his quest to get to Fenway Park.

To do so, we enlisted the help of Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham.

MLB.com: Obviously, Teel made a great impression last year, moving up to Double-A [Portland] before last season ended. How have you seen him handle regular playing time at Double-A the first two months of this season?

Abraham: He’s handled it very well, but no doubt it’s a significant adjustment from where he was last year at this time [in college]. While experience in pro ball, even Double-A, was something Kyle was able to experience last year, a full Spring Training, significant playing time and the grind of professional baseball is something that all players need to adjust to when coming from the amateur world. He continues to learn, to improve and make adjustments daily.

MLB.com: Numbers-wise, he got off to a slow start [.213 average, .344 slugging percentage in April] at the plate. Was that weather-related, or just adjusting to Double-A pitching?

Abraham: I don’t know if I’d necessarily blame it on one thing in particular -- it was likely a combination of a few things. I also believe that while some of the numbers on the surface weren’t as strong, he was still hitting the ball hard and swinging the bat fast. He showed constant improvement getting professional at-bats daily, while also handling a pitching staff full of arms he was just getting to learn and get to know.

MLB.com: What do you like most about his strong May at the plate?

Abraham: Continued consistency with his prep work and training, continuing to better understand his strengths and what he needs to do to have success, which is having a plan and sticking to it while pushing himself within our competitive training environments.

MLB.com: What kind of progress have you seen in his defense since he came into the system? I know he was already highly touted after catching at a top college program at Virginia.

Abraham: Getting to know pitchers is something that takes time -- focusing on what is best for the pitcher, what the pitcher’s strengths are and what they need to work on vs. always calling the best pitch in a particular moment. Overall, calling a game on his own vs. the coaches doing so in college is something that he has had to focus on. He’s incredibly athletic and continues to work on his receiving and throwing, improving daily.

MLB.com: What are his main developmental goals for this season?

Abraham: Overall, continuing to put on good weight and strength to allow for him to maximize his athletic potential. Offensively, overall bat speed and swinging at pitches where he can impact the baseball most consistently. Defensively, continuing to refine his receiving and blocking.

MLB.com: How close could he be to getting to the Major Leagues, realizing that some of that is MLB-roster related in that you have a very good catching tandem in Boston right now?

Abraham: He’s an upper-level impact catcher on both sides of the ball, so he is definitely on the radar. All upper-level players can potentially be called upon to support the roster in Boston. However, we can never put a timeline on these things, and his focus and our focus is on his best path of development, with less of a focus of players ahead of him. If he continues to improve daily in all aspects of his game, allowing pitchers to maximize their strengths, he’s going to continue to be pushed in the direction that leads toward Boston.

Here are some highlights at Boston’s other affiliates:

Triple-A Worcester: After a strong seven-start run at Double-A (4-0, 2.80 ERA), lefty Zach Penrod was promoted to Worcester on Sunday. The 26-year-old was signed out of independent ball last season and could be a late bloomer.

High-A Greenville: Kristian Campbell (Boston's No. 30 prospect), the fourth-round selection in 2023 the Red Sox got for losing Xander Bogaerts as a free agent to the Padres, is having a solid first full pro season, hitting .293 with seven homers and a .938 OPS.

Single-A Salem: A pitcher to watch is righty Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz (No. 20 prospect), who has 45 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings while holding opponents to a .211 average.