Bernie on the Scene: A Return to Prospect Evaluations by Request

Bernie on the Scene: A Return to Prospect Evaluations by Request

This article is part of our Bernie on the Scene series.

Today I will return to providing scouting profiles requested by readers.

If you wish to have a player profiled, please leave me a message in the comment section below. I will always try to respond, even if I have profiled the player before. Things change, and I get new readers all the time, so I'm happy to repeat players. However, players I haven't profiled before will be given priority.

By request:

Robert Hassell, CF, San Diego Padres
6-2, 195
Bats: Left
Age: 20

Robert Hassell was a first-round selection of the San Diego Padres in the 2020 draft. He was the No. 8 player taken overall. 

Out of Independence High School in Thompson's Station, Tennessee, Hassell signed for $4.3M instead of going to Vanderbilt. Hassell spent 2021 playing at Class-A Lake Elsinore and Class-A Advanced Fort Wayne. He hit a combined .302/.393/.470/.863 with 11 homers and 76 RBI in 516 plate appearances.

Hassell is a pure left-handed hitter with good eye-hand coordination and good hitting mechanics. He is strong and capable of hitting the gaps and knocking the ball out of the park. A better than average runner, Hassell fits today's profile of the consummate center fielder — but one with a bit of pop in his bat.

Above average in every category, Hassell has long limbs and an ability to get the most from his frame. He is still growing, and at only 20, he has a chance to develop even more power and strength. Scouting Grade: 55

Fantasy

Today I will return to providing scouting profiles requested by readers.

If you wish to have a player profiled, please leave me a message in the comment section below. I will always try to respond, even if I have profiled the player before. Things change, and I get new readers all the time, so I'm happy to repeat players. However, players I haven't profiled before will be given priority.

By request:

Robert Hassell, CF, San Diego Padres
6-2, 195
Bats: Left
Age: 20

Robert Hassell was a first-round selection of the San Diego Padres in the 2020 draft. He was the No. 8 player taken overall. 

Out of Independence High School in Thompson's Station, Tennessee, Hassell signed for $4.3M instead of going to Vanderbilt. Hassell spent 2021 playing at Class-A Lake Elsinore and Class-A Advanced Fort Wayne. He hit a combined .302/.393/.470/.863 with 11 homers and 76 RBI in 516 plate appearances.

Hassell is a pure left-handed hitter with good eye-hand coordination and good hitting mechanics. He is strong and capable of hitting the gaps and knocking the ball out of the park. A better than average runner, Hassell fits today's profile of the consummate center fielder — but one with a bit of pop in his bat.

Above average in every category, Hassell has long limbs and an ability to get the most from his frame. He is still growing, and at only 20, he has a chance to develop even more power and strength. Scouting Grade: 55

Fantasy Value: Hassell has a bright future in San Diego. He has all the tools need to be an everyday player. He can give you some power, some stolen bases and projects to be an every-day, above average player. I like his future.

Logan T. Allen, LHP/1B, Cleveland Guardians
6-0, 190
Bats: Right, Throws: Left
Age:23

Not to be confused with similarly named Guardians pitcher Logan Allen, Logan T. Allen was a second-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians in the 2020 draft out of Florida International University.

Allen signed with the Indians for $1.1M, under the $1.2M value for that slot. He spent the 2021 season at Class-A Advanced Lake County and at Double-A Akron.  He was used only as a pitcher, however, at Florida International, he also played first base.

Allen went a combined 9-0 last season, throwing to a combined ERA of 2.26 with a 0.925 WHIP. He raised some eyebrows with his solid command and an ability to strike out 11.7 hitters per nine innings. Allen's best pitch is his changeup, which is the pitch that has been fooling hitters most recently at every level of the game. He has a fastball that sits at 90 but can touch 95. His deceptive delivery and his ability to change speeds have been the secrets of his success. He is tough to hit.

Not a big guy, Allen gets the most from his repertoire by mixing his pitches and keeping the hitter off balance. His slider is a pitch that gets swings and misses, especially after establishing his fastball and changeup. Scouting Grade: 50

Fantasy Relevance: I see Allen as a great trade chip for the Guardians this offseason. He's a crafty lefty, and the type of pitcher teams covet. However, there are pitchers ahead of him on the Guardians depth chart.  He will have to fight to stay afloat on a competitive big league roster, but he can shine on a second division club. He's a sleeper.

Matt McLain, SS, Cincinnati Reds
5-11, 180
Bats: Right
Age: 22

Matt McLain was a first-round draft pick of the Reds out of UCLA in the 2021 draft. He received a bonus of $4.625M. Follow the money. For the Reds, that's huge.

Prior to the draft, McLain suffered a thumb injury, but the Reds were so high on him, it didn't matter. Once he was fully recovered and able to play, McLain played at two levels this past season, in Rookie Ball and at Class-A Advanced Dayton. He hit a combined .283/.389/.462/.851 in 126 plate appearances. He struck out only 24 times, which is admirable.

McLain hit three homers and drove in 19 runs in his first professional season. But he stole 10 bases in 12 attempts. The Reds are clearly in the hunt for shortstop depth, and McLain will be in their future. He's still very young and raw, but having played at college, he could be on their fast track. He has a solid hit tool, and his average should be well above average. He has a bit of pop in his bat, but it is his solid hit tool and running ability that could propel him to the big leagues sooner rather than later. Only an average fielder, he does have a strong arm. I'm not at all convinced that he won't be a better fit at second base. Watch his progress and see where the Reds play him.

Scouting Grade: 55

Fantasy Relevance: With Jonathan India pretty well established at second base, McLain could win the shortstop role in a year or two. That doesn't mean he'll stick. What it does mean, however, is that the Reds will play him at the big league level because they spent precious money on him. I see him as a solid hitter for average and a guy who can get a fantasy manager some stolen bases. But beware. There could be lots of guys out there who are similar to McLain.

Jose Barrero, SS/2B, OF, Cincinnati Reds
6-2, 175
Bats: Right
Age: 23

Barrero was an international free agent, signed out of Cuba in 2017.

Barrero has played all over for Cincinnati since signing. He has played shortstop, center field, second base and served as a designated hitter. He spent time with the Reds' parent club in 2020 and this past season, playing all three defensive positions.

In his 56 plate appearance with the Reds, Barrero hit .200.286.,320/606 with no homers and only three RBI. He stole a base in his only attempt. 

Here's the thing about Barrero-as a minor league hitter, he has compiled a .273 batting average in 1349 plate appearances. He has struck out 279 times, which is pretty solid. He has shown he can hit in the minor leagues. He has not shown he can hit big league pitching. Yet.

Barrero lost his mother to COVID-19 this past season, and it really devastated him. He could not return to Cuba to be with her. I personally believe that loss can explain his lousy hitting performance.

He is raw and still young. I don't see him winning the shortstop role full time for the Reds, but I think they will keep him in the overall picture if they don't upgrade the position with a veteran presence. He needs more seasoning. He needs more time to develop against solid pitching, which will probably mean time at Triple-A.

He hit a long home run in the Futures Game at Coors Field, and that got the Reds and their fans excited. I'm not on the ban wagon yet. Scouting Grade: 50

Fantasy Relevance: Not yet. His name will be floated, but I think he is best on a future or dynasty roster, rather than in a season-long league for 2022.

Gabriel Arias, SS/2B, Cleveland Guardians
6-1, 217 
Bats: Right
Age: 21

Arias was signed by the San Diego Padres as an international free agent from Venezuela in 2016 for $1.9M. He was traded to Cleveland in the huge package the Indians got from San Diego for pitcher Mike Clevinger in 2020.

Arias is one of the brightest players in the Guardians minor league system. He is seen as a potential starter at either shortstop or second base.

A good hitter for average with some pop in his bat, Arias has an incredibly strong and accurate arm, making his chances of sticking at shortstop much better than average. He has outstanding range and footwork, and can be a Gold Glove caliber infielder if everything goes well.

The Guardians may want to package an infielder or infielders from among the depth they have in the middle-infield to try to increase their outfield production. For me, it would be a mistake to let Arias slip away. He's that good.

This past season, Arias played at Triple-A Columbus and hit .284/.348/.454/.802 with 13 homers and 55 RBI. He struck out 128 times in 483 plate appearances. He stole 8 bases in 12 attempts.

If Arias has shown that he can recognize pitches out of the hand, and if he can show that breaking balls are not a problem, it is quite possible he will be among those contending for a middle infield position with the club as soon as the coming season. Scouting Grade: 55

Fantasy Relevance: I think Arias is a better player on the field than on our fantasy rosters. Why? I don't see any tool that can help a fantasy team in any particular category. He's a better than average baseball player, but his fantasy value may not be what we need.

Next Week: Luisangel Acuna, among your other requests.

HEADING HOME:

I would like to wish each of you a very healthy, happy, and safe New Year. 

I believe 2022 could be tough on seam heads like you and me. We could be watching as MLB can't get out of their own way and implodes. We could be watching MLB come to a sound, reasoned resolution to their basic agreement wars. Or, we could be watching MLB, all sports and the world try to cope with a disease that has raved society and kept us in doors once again in an effort to stay healthy. I hope that isn't the case. I hope we have all learned what is required to stay healthy  and that we will practice those good health standards.

Baseball has serious problems. Hopefully, they can come to some resolutions and get the game back up and running. One thing is certain— I'll be here to share my thoughts and prospect/player evaluations with you. And I hope you will continue to read my work.

Thank you for reading my what I write and for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff.

May you move ahead to the New Year in peace.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bernie Pleskoff
Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.
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