Former University of Virginia standout Mike Vasil doesn’t pitch in Boston, but he understands what it takes to perform in a sports-crazed city with high expectations.

Vasil, who is now a top pitching prospect in the New York Mets farm system, grew up in Wellesley, Mass., rooting for the four local professional sports franchises. He’s witnessed the scrutiny that can crack players when first donning a Red Sox uniform.

Vasil thinks the weight of it all won’t be too much for his former college teammate in Kyle Teel, who the Red Sox drafted at No. 14 overall in the Major League Baseball draft Sunday night. In fact, Vasil believes Teel, a left-handed-hitting catcher, is the type of player that will thrive in a pressure-packed environment like Boston.

“I think ultimately if I’m a Red Sox fan and I would want to know what kind of player I was getting, it’d be a guy that would really honestly fit well in Boston,” Vasil told “I don’t know how to describe it. He’s got a little bit of crazy to him. He’s also got a little bit of love that a fan will fall in love with. There’s no way that you wouldn’t just absolutely fall in love with Kyle Teel. They got an absolutely fantastic pick and I couldn’t be happier for him.”

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Expectations have already been placed on Teel’s shoulders as he immediately will be Boston’s top catching prospect upon signing. And Teel comparing himself to 2012 National League MVP Buster Posey only continued to fuel the hype.

There is a reason why the hype surrounds Teel, though. Viewed as the seventh-best prospect in the draft by MLB Pipeline, Teel fell to the Red Sox even after hitting an eye-popping .407 with 13 home runs and 69 RBIs as a junior this past season. He also showed he could contribute to a winning culture with the Cavaliers making two College World Series appearances in his three seasons with Virginia.

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“He’s just a little bit crazy and I think you need that in this game.”

Former Virginia pitcher Mike Vasil on Kyle Teel

Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor lauded Teel’s “competitive spirit,” something Vasil saw in droves during their one season playing together. Teel routinely put in extra work, looking to improve. And he wouldn’t be outworked, either.

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Teel made everything into a competition as he developed into one of the best catchers college baseball had to offer this year.

“That’s the way he is,” Vasil said. “If you’re hitting with Kyle and you hit six bombs in BP, he’s going to want to hit seven. If you are doing catching drills with him and you do the right movement 10 times, he’s going to want to do it 11. He’s doing it. That’s the beauty of him, it’s fun with him.

“It’s competition, but it’s fun because he enjoys the game. It’s not like he’s actually working. You watch him and you think, ‘God, this guy’s working for hours.’ But to him, it’s fun.”

Teel isn’t afraid to speak his mind, either, something else Vasil discovered. After Vasil took a loss to Duke in the ACC Tournament in 2021, he found Teel not only sitting in his usual spot on the bus, but chastising Vasil for not getting to the bus early enough.

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For Vasil, it encapsulated that Teel is wired differently, and that with his explosive bat, athleticism behind the plate and mental makeup, it will all play well in Boston.

“I was early to the bus, but I guess I wasn’t earlier than him,” Vasil said. “… He’s just a little bit crazy and I think you need that in this game. I think you need that to play in Boston. I think that’s what he’s got.”

Featured image via UVA Athletic Communications