One year removed from NCAA regional, Teel delivers clutch homer at Double-A

June 1st, 2024

On the first day of the NCAA Regionals last season, Virginia coasted to a 15-1 victory over Army thanks in part to a two-hit performance by . Fast forward 364 days, and it’s clear that while a lot changes over the course of a year, some things stay the same.

On Friday, the University of Virginia Cavaliers opened their postseason play with a victory over the University of Pennsylvania, and Kyle Teel, who is now the Red Sox's No. 3 prospect, had an opportunity to secure a second hit in his game with Double-A Portland. He came to the plate in the ninth inning with two outs, two runners on and the Sea Dogs down 6-3 to the Curve at Altoona’s Peoples Natural Gas Field. Down to his final strike, Teel turned on a fastball, sending it just shy of the roller coaster beyond the right-field fence.

“I could tell [Altoona pitcher Justin Meis] wanted to blow a fastball by me, and I kind of just had that feel the whole at-bat,” Teel said. “I finally got a good one with two strikes and I just put a good swing on it and tried to hit it hard.”

More from MLB Pipeline:
Top 100 prospects | Stats | Video | Podcast | Complete coverage

Portland went on to win 8-6 in 10 innings, putting the cherry on top of a banner day for the former Cavalier.

“I’ve got to shout out the Virginia men," Teel said. "They play tomorrow and I saw them win today. It’s been fun watching them early before we head to the ballpark and then go play myself. I was pumped that they won, so I had a lot of energy going into tonight.”

It was a fitting end to a spectacular month for MLB’s No. 30 prospect. He finished May with a .357/.443/.560 slash line, a vast improvement from April. On the season, he leads all Eastern League catchers in batting average (.297) and on-base percentage (.396). In just his first full professional campaign, he credits his success to time spent working on the fundamentals.

“I’ve honestly just been trying to focus on the small details and take care of the little things with my swing,” Teel said. “Just putting in the work in the cage -- whether it’s just getting there for early work or just making the most of my time in the cage.”

On Saturday, Virginia will face Mississippi State in the winner’s bracket of the Charlottesville Regional with a Teel on the roster (Kyle’s younger brother, Aidan). Kyle, on the other hand, will suit up for Portland in the fifth game of a six-game set against Altoona. No matter what the Cavaliers or Sea Dogs have in store, it will be hard to top Friday night’s heroics.