"That kid is going to play in the big leagues one day."
Those were the words of Mahwah (NJ) High School head baseball coach Jeff Remo when he got his first look at then-freshman Kyle Teel.
If indeed it's true that Teel will don an MLB uniform someday, the journey took a dramatic turn for him on Sunday night when the Red Sox took him in the first round with the 14th pick in the 2023 draft.
Teel had an impressive high school career playing shortstop (named 2nd Team All-State as a junior), outfielder, and pitcher. But it was behind the plate that Teel really stood out.
His senior year of high school, Teel was named the 2020 New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year.
From there it was on to Virginia where he was one of the dominant D1 players in the country.
Kyle Teel - photo courtesy of Ben McKeon/Associated Press
None of this came as a surprise to anyone who is familiar with New Jersey baseball.
Teel has what are called "bloodlines."
His father Garett was a two-year All-State player in high school and was a college All-American at William Paterson University.
After graduation, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing for five years in the organization's minor league system.
The Red Sox have a solid - if very brief - history with catchers who were taken with the 14th pick. Jason Varitek, taken by the Seattle Mariners, is a name synonymous with success behind the plate for Boston.
Teel is legit. Chad Jennings wrote in The Athletic, "Teel has the potential to become an organizational cornerstone. MLB Pipeline had him ranked as the seventh-best prospect in this draft class, while Baseball America had him ranked 10th but projected to go seventh overall. The Red Sox were thrilled to find him still available at 14."
So what can the Red Sox expect from Teel? If past history is any indication, it will be a player who works tirelessly on his game, with hopefully a quick track to Fenway Park.
Born in Queens, NYC and lived kind of all over the place from PA to NJ to NYC and back to NJ.
Yeah, I used to be that guy on WNEW-FM. No, I never worked at WPLJ (honest).
I support my family by doing two things in life I truly love - baseball and radio (WDHA).