Speedy Hampson vying to get even faster

Rockies' No. 4 prospect competing for Major League spot; Bettis to start Colorado's first spring game

February 20th, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies No. 4 prospect 's speed could lead to starts and playing time at second base, and even action in center field. So how did he spend his offseason? Trying to become even faster, of course.

Hampson, who swiped 123 bags in 146 attempts in three Minor League seasons and went 2-for-2 in his 24 Major League games last year, purchased a speed training program from EXOS, a Phoenix human performance company. He did his training at home in Henderson, Nev.

"To be honest, I’d never done speed-intense workouts until this offseason,” said Hampson, who said the program included resistance bands and medicine ball workouts. “I’ve always just been fast growing up. But I want to test it, and get faster.”

During two callups last season, the right-handed-hitting Hampson, 24, slashed .275/.396/.400 in 48 plate appearances, with three doubles and a triple. Whether it’s on a daily basis or as a platoon with left-handed-hitting , or even utility work in center, Hampson’s attributes could make him an asset. Hampson played well enough to earn a couple of plate appearances in the National League Division Series loss to the Brewers.

"He showed me, offensively, a pretty good at-bat,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I don’t think he got overmatched late. His at-bats were consistently good, where he took balls, swung at strikes. Defensively, he showed range, showed some hands. He didn’t scare off. We think he has a chance to be a real impact player, with the bat and with the glove.”

No. 1 Rockies/No. 10 overall prospect and , a utility man and pinch-hitter the last two seasons, also are competing at second base.

Hampson played shortstop at Long Beach State -- the school that produced former Rockies star , who at times has worked with Hampson -- and entered pro ball with as much aptitude as speed. The former trait is the reason he was in the Majors just 25 months after being drafted in the third round in 2016.

"You’ve got to assess every at-bat,” Hampson said. “Obviously pitchers have better stuff and know how to get people out. It’s that much harder to come up with a plan against a certain guy and execute it.”

Hampson admitted having “tunnel vision” for second base, but is making time for the outfield. After live batting practice, Hampson immediately went to center field to practice his reads off the bat, while other hitters took part in batting practice against a coach.

Bettis on the mound

Black said righty , who was forced out of last year’s rotation by a blister problem on his right middle finger and this year is competing for one of the five spots, will start Saturday’s Cactus League opener against the D-backs.

Righty , challenging Bettis and righty for what right now is one spot, also will pitch.

Fuentes injured

Corner infielder Josh Fuentes, last season's Triple-A Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player -- and known to the baseball world as third baseman 's cousin -- sustained a broken left hamate bone and will miss his first Major League Spring Training. Fuentes, added to the 40-man roster during the offseason, was scheduled for surgery on Thursday.