In the 28th round of the 2019 MLB Draft, the Miami Marlins drafted Florida International University outfielder Lorenzo Hampton Jr. Hampton grew up in Miami Lakes, Florida playing at Monsignor Edward Pace High School and FIU. He is also the son of former Miami Dolphins running back Lorenzo Hampton Sr.
It is rare when a MLB team drafts a prospect from their own backyard, and the Fish did it twice this draft. The other Marlins local product was Julian Infante out of Vanderbilt University, but played high school ball with Westminster Christian.
We sat down with Lorenzo Hampton Jr. and talked about the draft process, how it feels getting selected by your hometown team and who helped him to get him where he is today.
Fish Stripes: Where were you when you got the call from the Miami Marlins?
Lorenzo: I was at home with one of my best friends and sister. My parents were on their way home from running errands.
FS: Who from the Marlins called you?
LJ: Adrian Puig, my area scout.
FS: What did he say during your conversation with him?
LJ: I had been in contact with him through the previous two days, so he just congratulated me and told me to turn on the computer and enjoy the moment.
FS: You said your parents weren’t home when you got the call. How did you tell them that you got drafted and what was their reaction?
LJ: I just called them and told them that I was going to the Marlins. They were pretty excited for me and happy I was getting a chance to play for a team I always grew up watching.
FS: Not a lot of professional athletes get to get to play for their hometown team. How does it feel that the Marlins saw you as one of their top draft prospects?
LJ: It was definitely an honor to get picked by them. I just plan on working hard and making all the people who believed in me proud.
FS: Did the Marlins tell you what they liked about you and what about your game did Miami think highly of?
LJ: They liked me for my power. They want to see me be a run producer and that’s what I hope to be going forward.
FS: You were a graduate from Monsignor Edward Pace High School and signed with the University of California, Berkley. What was it about Cal that intrigued you to play for them?
LJ: The academics mixed with baseball. It was a good spot for me and going across the country helped me grow up a little bit.
FS: After two years at Cal, you came back home and transferred FIU. How was it playing back at home and for a coach like Mervyl Melendez?
LJ: It was awesome. Coach Melendez is a great coach and even better man. He gave me the opportunity to grow, play in front of my family and become a captain on his team. It was one of the best experiences of my career to play for him.
FS: In your last AB at FIU, you walked it off with a solo blast to left field on Senior Day as the only senior on the roster.
The lone senior on the team belts a walk off blast on Senior Day in his final at bat as an FIU Panther.— FIU Baseball (@FIUBaseball) May 18, 2019
How can you not be romantic about baseball?
Lorenzo Hampton WINS IT!#PawsUp pic.twitter.com/x7H0sEwWqz
What was going through your mind that at-bat and once you saw the ball go over the wall?
LJ: Louisiana Tech had just tied the game in the top of the ninth, so I’m in the outfield and I was thinking about hitting a walk-off. I didn’t want to jinx myself, but it was hard not to think about. Once I hit the ball, I blacked out and tried to enjoy the moment with my team and family. It was an emotional day, but one I’ll never forget.
FS: Which league will you start your professional career?
LJ: I will start my career with the Marlins in the GCL (Gulf Coast League).
FS: With your professional baseball career about to begin, who would you like to thank that helped you get to where you are now?
LJ: Definitely my parents. They sacrificed everything they could for me throughout the years and everything I do, I do for them.
The Miami Marlins GCL team will begin their 2019 season against the GCL Houston Astros on Monday, June 24 at 12 p.m. ET. Lorenzo Hampton Jr. will play for the GCL Marlins alongside other 2019 MLB Draft picks such as Nasim Nuñez, MD Johnson and Anthony Maldonado.
Follow Hampton on Twitter (@Lorenzo_hampJr).