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Latest Baseball America mock draft has the Arizona Diamondbacks picking Tennessee prep OF Robert Hassell III

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Could the team draft a prep outfielder with an advanced hit tool on Day 1 for the third draft in a row?

Even though the MLB regular season hasn’t started yet, it’s never too early for mock drafts. Since we’re still about four months away from the actual draft, this is more about getting a list of names to potentially focus on in future coverage when we get closer to that day.

In the most recent mock draft for Baseball America, their second for 2020 (subscription required), Carlos Collazo and a industry insider team up to make the picks for the first round. With the Diamondbacks pick at #18, Collazo selected Tennessee prep OF Robert Hassell III.

Hassell is a Vanderbilt commit, so signing him out of the draft is not a given, is a two-way player who will probably be a position player in the pros. At the Perfect Game showcase in June, Hassell recorded a 60 yard dash of 6.54, a maximum throwing velocity of 89 MPH from the outfield, and a top exit velocity of 91 MPH. As a left-handed throwing he’s limited to 1B/OF duties although he’s more likely to end up at a corner than center. Playing further down the defensive spectrum, the bat will have to be his path to the big leagues and he has an advanced bat from the high school ranks.

He also fits what the type of hitter the Diamondbacks have targeted in the draft the past three years: advanced hit tools with high exit velocities and solid OBP skills. Corbin Carroll and Alek Thomas both posted average exit velocities over 90 MPH last year according to Fangraphs. Even though the organization’s outfield mix is crowded around A ball, it’s more important to draft talent over the position given how much roster turnover happens in a 3-5 year span these days.