It’s not just real baseball that has been affected by the coronavirus. Fantasy baseball has ground to a halt as well. Drafts are being postponed left and right, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to analyze the sleepers, breakouts, and busts for the 2020 season, including those playing for the Colorado Rockies.
A popular sleeper among the fantasy community is Colorado Rockies utility player Garrett Hampson. He received a cup of coffee in the big leagues at the end of the 2018 season, but 2019 was his first extended experience in the majors. Now, he seems to be an excellent post-hype sleeper heading into the 2020 season.
Hampson’s 2019 review
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Hampson made the 25-man Opening Day roster out of spring training and was, frankly, not great. From March 29 through August 31, the 2016 third-round pick slashed .218/.274/.322 in 232 plate appearances over 81 games. He was sent down to Triple-A during that time, but was still struggling as he entered the final month of his first full season in the majors. Then the calendar flipped to September, and a whole lot of things changed.
In the final 24 games of the season, Hampson hit five home runs and stole nine bases. Those both topped his totals from his first 81 games of the season. He had a .318 batting average, a .903 OPS, and saw his strikeout rate plummet from 30.2 percent to 18.9 percent in the final month. His per 162 game pace with his September stats came out to 108 runs, 34 homers, 54 RBI, and 61 stolen bases.
It seems like something clicked for the 25-year-old on offense, and he even flashed some great defense patrolling center field at Coors Stadium.
Hampson’s 2020 outlook
The only thing standing in Hampson’s way of a full-blown breakout in 2020 is the crowded lineup in Denver. Ryan McMahon and Daniel Murphy seem locked into Bud Black‘s lineup on the right side of the infield, while Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, and David Dahl are the favorites to be everyday outfielders.
That leaves Hampson as the odd man out. Sure, those players will all need rest days, but it’s hard to draft a player in 10- or 12-team leagues that is playing in less than 80 percent of the games. The projection systems agree with this assessment.
Of the five projections systems on FanGraphs, only two of the models have Hampson suiting up in 110 games or more. Zero of the five project him to crack the double-digit mark in home runs or 30 stolen bases on the season. It’s a tough look for my guy.
Despite the uncertain playing time and pessimistic projections, I still believe that Hampson is worth drafting in any league with 12 or more teams. If he can sustain the strides he made in September of last season, it will be tough for Bud Black to keep him out of the lineup. A 15 home run, 30 steal season is well within reach if you ask me.
Murphy and Desmond are viable trade candidates this season, and that would open up a lot of playing time for Hampson. Not to mention that Dahl has never played more than 100 games in any professional season. The playing time worries always seem to work themselves out and, eventually, the cream rises to the top.
Taking Hampson with your final pick in your draft or for $1 in your auction is such a low-risk, high-reward move. Plus, if you’re a homer, like me, it’s always more fun to have some players from the team you watch on a nightly basis on your imaginary roster. Hampson is a lottery pick that can put you well on your way to a fantasy baseball championship in 2020.