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Padres' 1st pick faced Mo'ne Davis, can dunk

10 things to know about prep outfielder Robert Hassell
@MannyOnMLB
May 31, 2020

Here are 10 things to know about prep outfielder Robert Hassell, selected No. 8 overall by the Padres in the 2020 MLB Draft

Here are 10 things to know about prep outfielder Robert Hassell, selected No. 8 overall by the Padres in the 2020 MLB Draft

• Hassell, MLB Pipeline's No. 16 Draft prospect, is considered the best pure hitter in the high school Draft class, with tremendous hand-eye coordination and a beautiful swing from the left side of the plate that produces hits to all parts of the field. Scout opinions are split as to whether he will tap into his power at the professional level, but he certainly demonstrated raw power over his prep career. He is the first prep player drafted out of the state of Tennessee in the first round since Mike White in 1986.

• Though he is projected to have a higher ceiling professionally as a hitter, Hassell has hit 93 mph on the mound for Independence (Tennessee) High School, posting a 1.07 ERA with 113 strikeouts over 59 innings last year. That arm strength also makes the 18-year-old Vanderbilt commit potentially a better fit in right field than center. At the plate last year, he hit .423 with 14 home runs and 36 RBIs out of the leadoff spot to go along with 22 steals.

• While his future is obviously on the baseball diamond, Hassell is a great athlete, as demonstrated by his vertical jump for a slam-dunk contest-worthy dunk he posted on Twitter last year.

• Hassell played on the 2014 South Nashville team that reached the Little League World Series. Four players from that team have either signed with or committed to SEC college baseball teams, including Hassell. Ten players from that team overall are signed or have committed to collegiate programs.

• Hassell attributes his cool demeanor in pressure situations at the plate or on the field to his experience of facing Mo'ne Davis in the 2014 Little League World Series, when she tossed a two-hit shutout against Hassell's team.

• In the inaugural MLB Prospect Development Pipeline showcase, Hassell was spectacular, both at the plate and on the mound at Progressive Field. He hit .385/.467/.654 with four doubles and a home run at the plate, and yielded just one unearned run while striking out eight on the mound. He also launched some long balls while participating in the High School Home Run Derby.

• The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Hassell led the USA 18U National Team in virtually every offensive category during last September's WBSC 18-U World Cup in South Korea, slashing .514/.548/.886. He was named International Player of the Year for his performance in the tournament.

• Hassell is a two-time winner of the Gatorade Player of the Year Award for Tennessee, receiving the honor for 2018-19, and 2019-20.

• Hassell led Independence to a District II-AAA championship with a 17-strikeout no-hitter last season.

• Hassell homered in his first plate appearance of the season four consecutive years.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.