During a Thursday afternoon press briefing, Warren Schaeffer, the manager of the Hartford Yard Goats, the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, had plenty of good things to say about some of his former players who are expected to play big roles with the big league club in 2019.
Garrett Hampson, Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers have all spent time with Hartford while Hampson and McMahon have also made their Major League debuts with the Colorado Rockies. They are also expected to compete to start for Colorado at second base with DJ LeMahieu now with the New York Yankees. Rodgers, who ended last season in Triple-A, could well make his Major League debut this season and potentially see time at second as well.
Schaeffer, in his second season as Hartford’s manager, had Hampson for just 38 games last season before he was promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque on May 17. The 24-year-old would make his Rockies debut on July 21, coming through with an RBI double in a 6-5 road win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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Hampson had 40 regular-season at-bats (and one postseason at-bat) last season with the Rockies while posting 444 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A. While Schaeffer may not have had Hampson in Hartford long, he made a sizable impression.
"“Hamp is one of a kind. As soon as he steps into the clubhouse, he is immediately all of his teammates’ favorite player,” Schaeffer said. “Hamp is special. I didn’t get enough time with him. I’m so happy he got to where he was (the Rockies) and he got there quick. He has no ceiling. He’s fantastic.”"
Schaeffer also took time during the media gathering to talk about having a trio of current and former Rockies minor leaguers likely competing for a spot vacated by a two-time All-Star and former batting champion. Colorado letting LeMahieu leave in free agency is a sign that the Rockies believe in their younger players and are giving them a chance to shine, Schaeffer said.
"“You’re giving three very, very talented guys a shot. It’s a testament to the Rockies’ system overall,” he explained. “We promote from within. We do it because we believe we can compete that way. Hamp, Brendan and Mac all can do it. It’s going to be an interesting spring training.”"