Reds draft decision: Robert Hassell III vs. Austin Hendrick

Should the Reds draft Robert Hassell III or Austin Hendrick?

The Cincinnati Reds have several different directions in which they could go on June 10th. With the No. 12 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, Cincinnati could very easily be looking at two of the best prep outfielders available. If both Robert Hassell III and Austin Hendrick are available, who should the Reds select?

Hassell III and Hendrick offer some similarities. Both are left-handed batters who profile as corner outfielders. Hassell III possesses a strong arm, but a lack of speed is likely to see the 18-year-old wind up in right field before making his big league debut. Speaking of age, some scouts see a small deduction in Hendrick’s value, as he turns 19-years old shortly after the draft.

When you look at the tools each player possesses, it’s a virtual dead heat. The biggest difference comes in the power department, where Hendrick owns a grade of 60 according to MLB.com. Hassell III grades out at 50. But, where Hendrick has the upper hand in the power department, Hassell III outdoes the Pennsylvania outfielder in terms of hitting.

According to MLB.com, Hassell III is the best pure hitter in the 2020 prep class with a grade of 60. Hendrick scores a bit lower with a grade of 50. The concern with Hendrick is whether or not he’ll be the boom or bust type of prospect who’s either going to launch the ball over the wall or go down swinging.

If presented with these two options, the Cincinnati Reds will essentially be deciding between the power-hitting Austin Hendrick who has a very high ceiling and the solid and steady bat of Robert Hassell III who could be a bit too lean to ever develop the power that scouts see from his counterpart.

Keith Law of The Athletic gives the slight edge to Austin Hendrick (11), ranking the West Allegheny High School star one spot higher than Robert Hassell III (12). However, in his mock draft, Law foresees Hassell III (9) going seven slots higher than Hendrick (16). Jim Callis of MLB.com also selected Hassell III to go ahead of Hendrick, who he has going to the Reds.

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So, who’s it going to be if both prep outfielders are on the board when the Cincinnati Reds make their selection? I’m going to go with the upside of Austin Hendrick. Given that Cincinnati does not have much in terms of power in their farm system, adding a bat like Hendrick’s could serve the organization well.

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