DENVER -- Speedy Garrett Hampson fits the Rockies' plan of accumulating do-almost-anything players.After leading the Class A Advanced California League in triples with 12, finished second in batting at .326 and steals with 51, and third in on-base percentage at .387, Hampson will enter 2018 as MLB's seventh-ranked prospect at
DENVER -- Speedy Garrett Hampson fits the Rockies' plan of accumulating do-almost-anything players.
After leading the Class A Advanced California League in triples with 12, finished second in batting at .326 and steals with 51, and third in on-base percentage at .387, Hampson will enter 2018 as MLB's seventh-ranked prospect at second base, according to MLB Pipeline.
:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::
But putting him at one position is limiting. Hampson, 23, a third-round Draft pick out of California State University-Long Beach in 2016, began his career with 64 appearances at short and one at second at Short Season Class A Boise. Last season, he played 71 games at second base and 56 at shortstop, then went to instructionals to learn center field.
"I pride myself on being able to play anywhere on the field," said Hampson, who arrived at the Rockies' complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., last week to complete his preparations for Spring Training. "I learned a little bit of center field in instructional league this year. Whatever it takes for me to get on the field, that's something I can bring to the table -- that versatility."
Hampson was a solid line-drive hitter in college but it wasn't clear how his bat would transfer professionally. Added strength has made him a threat to hit into the gap and use his speed.
"I just learned to be more aggressive with the fastball and get the pitch I'm looking for, and be able to be on time with it," Hampson said. "I came from a college that it wasn't really OK to hit fly balls. The field plays really big at Blair Field. Now I'm able to use that to my advantage. I have a line-drive approach but can hit some gaps, too."
Hampson, currently the No. 8 prospect in the Rockies' organization, was part of a speed movement at Class A Advanced Lancaster. Teammate Wes Rogers led the Minors with 70 steals, and the JetHawks had Nos. 5 and 7 of the top eight players in the California League in steals.
"It was just so fun to be a part of that team," Hampson said. "It was an exciting bunch and we fed off each other on the bases and at the plate as well. Any way to get that extra 90 feet is huge. I'm not really sure why it's left the game. Maybe the more power, the less speed is useful. The whole goal of baseball is to score runs, and it makes it easier as an offense if you can gain that extra 90 feet.
"I think the Rockies are looking at the little things a little more. It's not all about hitting home runs and power. The Rockies pride themselves on executing and doing little things to win a game."
Hampson is a candidate to begin the 2018 season at Double-A Hartford. It's hard to rate the big league arrival of a fast-moving prospect, but the Rockies like giving their prospects more avenues. They had shortstop Trevor Story learn second base and third base, just in case. Ryan McMahon, the No. 2 prospect at first base, was drafted as a third baseman and has added first base and second. Infield prospect Brendan Rodgers is playing second and short.
"Its nice to have someone like that on a team, being able to put people here and there," Hampson said. "The more positions you can play, that means you'll probably be in that lineup the next day. I'm riding the wave, learning each position as I can and getting all the reps that I can."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.