The Padres have had a rough time since *checks notes* well forever really. But recently, they’ve been able to take solace in the fact that they have one of the best farm systems in baseball. A system made up primarily of homegrown athletes, the Padres take a more risky approach when it comes to the draft, often taking high school players over college players. Only two of their last seven first round picks has been from college, and it’s worked. MacKenzie Gore, C.J. Abrams, and Hudson Potts are all well regarded players. They continued their trend of drafting high schoolers with their selection of Robert Hassell with the eighth overall pick in the draft.
Standing at 6’2, 190 pounds as an 18 year old, he turns 19 in September. As a junior, Hassell hit .423 with fourteen home runs, but, unfortunately, was only able to play two games before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down his season. He has a beautiful swing from the left side of the plate, driving balls to all sides of the field. He also has a very strong arm, as perfect game tracked his throws from the outfield at 89 MPH on the gun. The rest of his tools consensus grade out as average. His bigger supporters see him as able to stick in center and hit for plus power as he grows into his frame, but others think that his hit and arm are the only tools he has that are above average, and he’ll have to move to a corner. The Padres aren’t poor when it comes to outfield prospects, with Taylor Trammell and Abrams being two highly regarded prospects, but Hassell has a chance to compete with those two as a top outfield prospect. Even if his defense falters, Hassell’s bat will make his a hassle for pitchers to get out
With their competitive balance pick, the Padres were also able to nab Justin Lange at thirty fourth overall. The 6-4 high school righty averaged 94-95 on his fastball in the spring and can hit 100, he can subtract from it to give it more cut and sink, or sacrifice that life for more velocity. His pitch selection also features an inconsistent slider than can range from well below average with little sweeping motion to a plus pitch that lives in the 80’s and has plenty of bite. He also has a very fringy change up that he rarely used. Full of athletic talent, Lange also showed promise as an outfielder who showed plus power, but is more likely to be developed as a pitcher. With his plus velocity, Lange has a high ceiling. But his secondary stuff and command need to improve to reach it. Luckily, he joins an organization with a good track record of developing pitchers.