The Padres took Robert Hassell with the eighth overall pick, and it appears they had some concerns about Zac Veen’s hit tools going forward.
It’s no secret that Padres general manager AJ Preller likes high school talent in the first round of the MLB Draft. The last three years are a prime example of it. So, it wasn’t exactly a surprise that he selected Robert Hassell out of Independence High School with the eighth overall pick.
Recapping the efforts leading up to Hassell, this is one of the strangest first rounds that I have ever seen. The Orioles shocked everyone, going with Arkansas’ Heston Kjerstad with the second overall pick, despite Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin and Texas A&M’s Asa Lacy on the board. Martin was considered to be the best pure hitter in the class and Lacy the best college pitcher.
Spencer Torkelson to the Tigers was a foregone conclusion and has been for months now. However, the Kjerstad selection created a ripple effect that had high school prep star Zac Veen trending towards the Padres at number eight. Oddly enough, Martin was passed up twice more before being selected by the Blue Jays with the fifth overall pick.
The Mariners had been linked to Emerson Hancock for quite some time, so that pick made a lot of sense. And Nick Gonzales, of New Mexico State, landed into the waiting arms of the Pirates with the seventh overall pick. With the big three, consisting of Veen, Hassell, and Reid Detmers, all on the board, the Padres took the Vanderbilt commit with the eighth overall pick.
Veen and the Padres were linked in several mock drafts, and I thought there was no chance that he was going to fall to the Padres if I am being perfectly honest. However, maybe there was more going on behind the scenes that we were not aware of?
Hassell has drawn comparisons to Bryce Harper, with a huge uppercut swing. The power is going to come as he fills out his frame, but with no minors league season likely to happen this year, we’ll have to wait until 2021 to get our first look at Hassell in the Padres’ farm system.
This situation potentially may play out favorably for Veen, who was selected by the Rockies, and Coors Field should do wonders for any concerns they may have. He’ll also face the Padres 19 times a year now.
Stay tuned for when the Padres pick again with the 34th overall selection, as part of the competitive balance round.