If the next great Red Sox team is built around Marcelo Mayer and Kyle Teel, there will be a lot of clubs across baseball that are going to feel pretty silly about past MLB draft performances.

Drafts in any sport are an inexact science, but in baseball, it’s even more of a crap shoot. So, teams have their reasons and processes that contribute to how the draft plays out. And while there’s no guarantee Teel becomes the next great Boston backstop, it looks like the Sox could have executed a steal in the first round of Sunday night’s MLB draft.

The Red Sox selected the catcher out of Virginia with the No. 14 pick in the draft. Based solely on pre-draft rumors and scuttlebutt, the Red Sox at least selected a player who smart, informed people thought would go much higher. In his final mock draft, ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel had the Cincinnati Reds taking Teel with the No. 7 pick. Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen projected the same landing spot.

In fact, in a draft-day chat, Longenhagen relayed in the opening minutes that there was a “weird rumor that now three sources have told me says there’s buzz Kyle Teel goes (No. 4 overall).”

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Teel was the seventh-ranked prospect available, according to MLB.com’s predraft rankings, with Baseball America ranking the 2023 ACC Player of the Year at No. 10.

All that considered, the Red Sox taking Teel at No. 14 drew positive reviews in the moment.

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“I love this pick for the Red Sox, absolutely love it. At this position, you want your catcher to bring competitive energy, and this guy exudes competitive energy,” former Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd said after the pick on the MLB Network telecast. “And oh, by the way, he’s got incredible athleticism, he’s got a plus-arm (and) he crushes left-handed pitching. You’re going to get a big league catcher that’s going to face a lot of right-handed pitchers and brings contagious energy behind the plate … I think the Red Sox absolutely nailed this pick.”

There are no sure things in any draft, but for the second time in four years, it seems the Red Sox got a steal. In 2021, many considered Mayer a potential No. 1 selection, and he tumbled to the Sox with the fourth pick. Now, Mayer is the No. 4 prospect in the entire sport, according to MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 rankings.

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Historically, the best teams are strongest up the middle. With Teel in the system now, the future looks bright in that regard. Mayer looks like he’s on the fast track to patrolling the middle of the infield at Fenway Park, and fellow propsect Nick Yorke — the club’s first-round pick in 2020 — is also a top-100 prospect as a second baseman. And if you really want to drill into the middle of the field idea, the Red Sox also have center fielder Ceddanne Rafaela (another top-100 prospect) knocking on the door at Triple-A Worcester.

That’s all before you even get to Jarren Duran, who looks like the top prospect he once was amid a breakout performance in the big leagues.

Teel, who should also move relatively quickly after spending three years in Charlottesville, could be one of the better picks in the entire 2023 draft, which could have teams kicking themselves for passing him up.

Featured image via ACC Digital Network