DENVER—Shortstop Garrett Hampson began his first full season at high Class A Lancaster, the Rockies fully confident he could bypass low Class A Asheville.
The 2016 third-round pick proved them right in the early going. Hampson hit .291 with a .344 on-base percentage and nine RBIs through 13 games.
“He has tremendous feel for the game,” farm director Zach Wilson said. “He’s instinctual in everything he does. He’s a premium athlete. We still have work to do, but when your tools are advanced to the point where they’re already turning into skills and some already are skills, you’ve got the ability to skip over that low A level and still have a lot of success.”
Hampson, 22, played collegiately at Long Beach State. He launched his pro career at short-season Boise, where he hit .301/.404/.441 with 14 doubles, two homers, and nearly as many walks (48) as strikeouts (56) in 68 games. He led the Northwest League in walks, triples (eight) and stolen bases (36).
For the most part, Hampson and Brendan Rodgers, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, are expected to split time between shortstop and second base at Lancaster. Hampson played one game at second base last year and 64 at shortstop.
According to Wilson, Hampson has “tremendous feel for the barrel, outstanding barrel control and very good feel for the strike zone—and there’s some sneaky sock in there.”
Wilson praises Hampson’s defensive fundamentals, sure hands and athleticism. He grades him as having an above-average arm and above-average range.
“And he’s probably one our top five baserunners in terms of instincts and probably in our top five in terms of speed,” Wilson said. “So when you combine all that, it equals a really good baseball player who’s ready for more of a challenge than Asheville’s going to give him.”
• After two appearances at Triple-A Albuquerque, righthander Shane Carle joined the Rockies bullpen and made his debut in San Francisco, not far from his home in Santa Cruz.
— Jack Etkin is a writer based in Denver