3 college players KC Royals could take first in 2023 MLB Draft

The KC Royals sit at 8th overall in the upcoming MLB draft. Who are some college names the team could focus on?

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C Kyle Teel

The Royals selecting Virginia catcher Kyle Teel at eight overall is one of the most popular selections I can think of, on social media at least. Joe Doyle of Future Star Series Plus mocked Teel to the Royals, saying that Kansas City "absolutely love Teel and have spent an inordinate amount of time taking in his games toward the end of the year". Doyle doubled down on the connection in a recent podcast, adding some more fuel to this fire.

The Royals could do much worse than Teel if they want a college bat. He is a left-handed hitter that is better at hitting for contact than hitting for power. He does have above-average bat speed, with good plate recognition and the ability to put the barrel to the ball very well. The Athletic's Keith Law noted (subscription required) that Teel's "swing produces a lot of line-drive contact and he might have another half-grade of power coming if he gets a little stronger." Teel has already jumped in power from year to year in Virginia, recording career-highs with .655 SLG and 13 home runs in 2023. He has a good feel for the strike zone, walking more than he struck out over the past two years.

The bat is very good, but Teel behind the plate might be even better. He is a consensus above-average catcher behind the plate, at least from what I have seen. His role on a Virginia team that made the College World Series twice in three years is undeniable. After all, the catcher has an important role in sequencing, directing the defense, and more. Fans can watch some of his game tapes, but his framing looks good, at least receiving from college pitchers.

MLB.com gives more reason for Teel being a good fit in Kansas City. They said "he gets high marks for his baseball IQ and leadership skills", two things that historically would intrigue the Royals. This is another way that fans will learn about the new draft approach. How much weight will the Royals put into a player's intangibles? Former general manager Dayton Moore put a lot of stock into a player's traditional scouting measurables as well as an individual's character. At 6'1" and 190 lbs., Teel has those measurements Morre would like. The question remains, is that still the case?