SF Giants: Ranking 3 players to watch in the MLB draft

SF Giants hat in the dugout. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
SF Giants hat in the dugout. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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SF Giants MLB draft watch: Robert Hassell III

While the San Francisco Giants are beginning to put together an impressive group of outfield prospects, there is plenty of room for one more.

As an 18-year-old prospect, Independence High School outfielder Robert Hassell fits in the same age category of some of the Giants top prospects such as Heliot Ramos (20) and Marco Luciano (18).

Is this an important factor? Not necessarily, but unlike a college prospect, a prep outfielder would likely make his major league debut around the same timeframe as both Ramos and Luciano as well as others.

The infusion of talent to the major league roster would happen all at once, and that tends to be when the competitive window cracks open.

On the field, the left-handed bat brings one of the better hit tools to the table. For his age, he has a surprisingly quiet stance, load, and stride. These factors may be what helps him to track pitches so well.

In the batter’s box, he controls the strike zone, works the count, and features solid gap-to-gap power. As Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com notes, there are questions about Hassel’s power upside:

"“There’s some debate as to how much pop he’ll ultimately have, with some scouts envisioning solid raw power and believing he’ll tap into most of it, while other evaluators think he’s more lean than projectable and more of a 15-homer guy.”"

The outfielder has a very lean frame currently, and will need to fill out quite a bat to tap into that power potential. Regardless, Hassel has one of the sweeter swings in the draft and a contact-oriented approach that covers the plate well.

Similar to his questionable power, there are concerns about whether Hassell can stick in center field. If his power does not fully develop, then it will be especially important for the 18-year-old to prove he can handle center field.

Many of the mock drafts have the outfielder being a mid-first round pick, so the Giants have a legitimate shot at landing Hassell. He would join an outfield contingent that has quickly become a strength in the Giants farm system with key prospects including Ramos, Hunter Bishop, Alexander Canario, and Luis Matos.

Hassell is one of the top prep outfielders and has committed to Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt has become a sort of factory for premier prospects, and despite this, it is going to be difficult for Hassell to improve his draft stock three years from now.

Given this, Hassell has considerable leverage in contract talks given his commitment. The 13th pick carries a $4.1 million slot value, and the Giants may need to use the entire slot value to lure the 18-year-old away from his college commitment.

If San Francisco does this, it may limit their ability to sign a player in the later rounds, but Hassell looks to be worth the bet.