Virginia's Kyle Teel named ACC Player of the Year
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Virginia catcher Kyle Teel was named the ACC Baseball Player of the Year after an historic season at backstop.
Teel becomes only the third player in UVA program history to earn the conference's top honor and the first since Sean Doolittle won in 2006. The junior is also only the sixth catcher in ACC history to win Player of the Year and the third in the last five years.
"The season that Kyle Teel has had is so rare in this league and to do it in the position that he plays behind the plate is really, really special, to win the batting title," Virginia head coach Brian O'Connor said, "The thing that I'm most proud of is Kyle Teel has been Mr. Consistency."
Virginia placed seven players on the All-ACC team and four players on first team All-ACC, both tied for the second most in program history. Teel was joined by third baseman Jake Gelof, shortstop Griff O'Ferrall and outfielder Ethan O'Donnell on the first team. Gelof becomes the 11th Cavalier all-time to earn back-to-back first team All-ACC honors and the first position player to do so since Mike Papi in 2013-14. UVA also placed first baseman Ethan Anderson and starting pitchers Connelly Early and Brian Edgington on third team All-ACC.
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O'Connor surprised Teel with the news before practice on Monday with a hug in the dugout before media interviews. Teel chalked up his career season to eating better this offseason to put on 15 pounds of muscle, thanks to his uncle The Deli Guy on TikTok, but also late night workouts till 11 p.m. and the lights going off at Disharoon Park with teammates Henry Godbout and Jake Gelof.
"The number one thing that I care about is winning games and having fun and whatever comes along with that is awesome," Teel said, "Right now our goal is to go win an ACC Tournament and after that our goal is to go to Omaha and win the whole thing."
A career-year at the plate for Teel was highlighted by winning the ACC batting title, hitting .414 with 91 hits (first in the ACC), 23 doubles (first in the ACC), 11 home runs and 59 RBI (7th in the ACC), all of which were career-highs. Teel is the first Cavalier to lead the league in batting average since Adam Haseley in 2017 and only the fifth catcher in ACC history.
"You just see it throughout not even just baseball and sports and life, if people put in the work and get rewarded for what they do," junior third baseman Jake Gelof said, "That's been showing this year for Kyle as well, made some great adjustments with his swing."
The work ethic and joy for the sport have not only led to individual honors this season like the ACC Player of the Year, but also sets Teel up to be a first round draft pick in this summer's MLB Draft. Teel is currently rated as MLB.com's 15th-best prospect and the second-ranked catcher.
"There's everything on the field that you guys see, but it's in the locker room, the energy he brings, his work ethic," junior outfielder Ethan O'Donnell said, "It's something that's contagious."