The wait is over for Independence slugger Robert Hassell.
He now knows where he'll be able to sign for the start to his pro baseball career. The San Diego Padres selected him eighth overall in the 2020 MLB Draft Wednesday evening.
"What’s up San Diego!!!," Hassell shared on Twitter at news of his drafting.
The highly-decorated hitter and center fielder will be heading to the West Coast, should he opt to sign his entry-level contract into the MLB.
Last year's eighth overall pick, Rangers third baseman Josh Jung, inked a $4.4 million signing bonus, hinting at the money Hassell could make to start his career if he does indeed chose to go pro over attending Vanderbilt in the fall.
He was the first high school player taken in 2020's draft.
"It's definitely exciting," Hassell told MLB Network after being selected. "It was nerve-wracking at first, but I'm excited now and I'm looking forward to getting to work...hard work pays off, so this is what I've been working for, this moment right here."
He's a two-time Gatorade Tennessee Baseball Player of the Year, among a laundry list of other awards. He played on the 18U National Team last summer, leading the team in most all offensive categories.
When asked by the Home Page's Chip Cirillo if he was inclined to go pro or stay with Vandy in April, Hassell said he found benefit in either decision.
“Either way, it’s a win-win,” Hassell said. “I could either, A, go into the pros right now at 18 years old, which would not be a bad thing for me or I could go to Vandy, one of the most prestigious schools and one of the most prestigious baseball programs and that would not be a bad option either.”
Being picked in the top 10 of the MLB Draft and having such a lucrative contract waiting on him will no doubt be crucial factors in that decision.
The 2020 MLB season is currently on pause with the COVID-19 pandemic, with negotiations inching toward an abbreviated season. The minors are expected to be called off, but no firm decision has been made as of yet.
Hassell would likely start his career with an affiliate before being called up one day down the road.
He joins Brentwood Academy alum Bryce Jarvis in being one of two Williamson County faces drafted in the first round. Jarvis, a pitcher, went 10 picks later to the Arizona Diamondbacks.