This premium position could be on the docket for the Reds during 2023 MLB Draft

Virginia Cavaliers catcher Kyle Teel (3) singles in a run
Virginia Cavaliers catcher Kyle Teel (3) singles in a run / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Stephenson has fallen on hard times this season. Thought to be part of the Cincinnati Reds core, Stephenson has not produced at the same level that many fans assumed he would.

That's not to say that Stephenson isn't part of the Reds long-term future. The backstop is likely to be part of a roster that hopes to lead the Reds back to winning baseball in the future.

But one area of Stephenson's game that has taken a hit this past season is his power. In 50 games last season, Stephenson posted a slugging percentage of .482 and, according to FanGraphs, a wRC+ of 134. Those numbers have dipped to .310 and 80 through 33 games this season.

With Tyler Stephenson's struggles, the Reds could seriously consider Kyle Teel in the 2023 MLB Draft.

Kyle Teel was a name that emerged during the 2020 MLB Draft, but the New Jersey native decided instead to honor his commitment to the University of Virginia. After a sophomore slump last season, Teel has once again emerged as one of the top catching prospects in the draft.

Teel, according to MLB Pipeline, is the 15th best prospect in this year's draft. However, Keith Law of The Athletic( subscription required) ranks Teel No. 6 on his big board. No matter which way you slice it, both outlets see Teel as the top college catcher in this year's class.

Cincinnati has not had the best track record with catchers over the past few drafts. The Reds have selected the likes of Jackson Miller (2020), Mat Nelson (2021), and Logan Tanner (2022). Most recently, the Reds signed International free agent Alfredo Dunn as well.

Now, it's much too soon to call any of these young catchers a bust. Miller has dealt with injuries, while the trio of Nelson, Tanner, and Duno are much too early in their professional careers to judge them too harshly.

But a hit-first prospect like Kyle Teel might be too good to pass up. After posting a slugging percentage of .526 and .439 during his first two seasons with the Cavaliers, Teel has crushed the ball during his junior season.

Teel has posted a .665 slugging percentage this season with 29 extra-bases hits and 50 RBIs. The left-handed hitting backstop has also has just 26 strikeouts and 20 walks this season. Teel is also athletic enough to play several different positions with some scouts seeing him with the ability to play on the infield dirt or the outfield grass.

The Cincinnati Reds have enough shortstops, and the top two college outfielders will likely be long gone by the time the Redlegs select in Round 1. Kyle Teel should be near the top of the team's board when the 2023 MLB Draft takes place later this summer.

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