With the eighth pick in the draft, the Padres’ selected Tennesse prep outfielder Robert Hassell out of Independence High School in Franklin, Tennessee. Hassell and Florida outfielder Zac Veen were considered among the top prep players in the draft by MLB Pipeline, Baseball America, The Athletic and ESPN. Hassell may have the best pure hit tool of any prep player in the draft, which could give him the highest floor. MLB Pipeline gave him a 60 hit-tool, which would be up there with CJ Abrams and Luis Campusano as the best hit tool in the organization.
The Padres felt Robert Hassell was the top high school player in this class over Zac Veen going back awhile. Felt Hassell has the better bat, simple as that.
— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) June 11, 2020
“Good long projectable body, wired right, ultra competitive, hates to strike out. One of the best hit tools in the entire draft class 60-70 grade hitter. Power projections. Defensively he is a solid runner both on the bases and in the outfield. Plus instincts that will let him stay in center field. He has an above average 55-60 arm in the outfield. We are extremely excited to have his tool set in the system.” Directer of Scouting, Mark Conner
While many scouts think that power will be the limiting factor to Hassell reaching his potential, he see’s it differently.
“Every time someone says something about my power I just go upstairs and look at the buckets of baseballs of home runs I have hit. I can add power, and will add power with more muscle. Every part of the game I think I can improve, I think it will come with time, and getting in the weight room even more.”
Defensively, Hassell is a solid center fielder, with an above-average arm and speed and was clocked at 92 mph off of the mound. He has a chance to stick in the middle of the field, but more than a few scouts believe he will shift to a corner.
“I am a center fielder, and want to stay in center.” Hassell said
Here is what Perfect Game had to say about him
Robert Hassell III is a 2020 OF/LHP/1B with a 6-2 190 lb. frame from Franklin, TN who attends Independence. Lean high waisted athletic build, lots of physical projection and room to get stronger. 6.54 runner, moves well in the outfield with light feet and good overall athleticism and bounce, can use his lower half more throwing. Left handed hitter, wide slightly open stance, has fast hands he uncoils well to start his swing, uphill swing plane with good extension out front, projects power, ball jumps when squared, loose and easy swing. Good student, verbal commitment to Vanderbilt. Named to play in the Perfect Game All-American Classic.
Hassell is also used to the big game. In 2014, Hassell became a Little League World Series hero when he hit a final inning two-out, two-strike, home run to give his team the lead
“There were thousands of people in Williamsport, it was on ESPN and I was so nervous. It definietely prepared me for later on for being in front of crowds and scouts.” Robert Hassell III
Looking forward to seeing #UAAllAmerica OF @robert_hassell3 get selected tonight in the #MLBDraft. Here's some video of the talented LHH including his @LittleLeague days and his impressive showing at Wrigley Field. @BaseballFactory pic.twitter.com/lsEUqoM0SM
— Baseball Factory (@BaseballFactory) June 10, 2020
Overall outlook: With above-average speed and a great hit tool, Hassell has an extremely high floor, particularly for a prep player. If he can develop power more power, he is the type of high-level athlete San Diego has been focused on in the past few drafts.