After spending the last five seasons with the Colorado Rockies, Garrett Hampson was a free agent for the first time and signed a minor-league deal with the Miami Marlins.
“Just felt like this was a good spot for me,” said Hampson. “I can contribute and help the team win and I was really excited about the staff and the players here. Obviously, a really talented team who once we put it all together, we can definitely win a lot of games.”
During Spring Training, Hampson was added to the Marlins 40-man roster. That quickly proved to be a crucial move. Less than a week into the regular season, Hampson was on a plane down to Miami after shortstop Joey Wendle suffered an intercostal strain that required a trip to the IL.
Through the first 14 games of his Marlins tenure, Hampson is slashing .222/.263/.389/.652 with four RBIs. His 78 wRC+ is easily his highest since his 2018 debut.
“Preparation and having a good plan up there and I’ve always been able to hit, so I’m kind of just trying to get back to feeling comfortable in the box and I feel good where I’m at right now,” said Hampson when asked about what he would attribute his success to thus far.
Hampson previously played his home games at Coors Field, MLB’s most hitter-friendly environment. Now, he’s getting used to LoanDepot, which is famously a pitcher's ballpark. The change of scenery hasn’t been an issue through 15 plate appearances there, as he is slashing .308/.400/.615/1.015 and came up huge on the last homestand.
“I think that kind of plays into my game,” Hampson explained. “The outfield is still big, I can make the good plays out there in center or the infield and use my speed to kind of create some runs. So yeah, I think it’s a good ballpark for me.”
Garrett Hampson who is hitting ninth smashes a solo homer to put the #Marlins back in it.— Kevin Barral (@kevin_barral) April 15, 2023
Exit Velo: 99.3 mph
Launch Angle: 39 DEG
Distance: 366 FT
Home Run in all 30 ballparks
Hit probability: 13%
Barrel: No pic.twitter.com/ISOICBbQBS
A big factor that went into the decision to add Hampson to the 40-man despite the underwhelming spring training numbers is his defensive versatility. Hampson has played every position except first base, pitcher, and catcher. The Marlins have most frequently used him at shortstop so far, but also second, center and right.
“It brings value to me and being able to be available at different positions when Skip (Schumaker) needs me,” said Hampson. “So I think anywhere on any team, it’s valuable, but it’s nice to be able to do that for this team.”
After being with Colorado’s Bud Black for the past five seasons, Hampson is under a new manager who comes from a much different background.
“He’s been good,” said Hampson about Skip. “He’s a really good communicator. You never are questioning what he wants or what they're asking of you. So it’s been great so far.”
Hampson also praises Skip for his in-game maneuvers, even those that come at the expense of his playing time. On April 15, Skip had Hampson up at the plate late in the game with runners on the corners and put Luis Arráez to pinch-hit for him and it ended up being a game-winning RBI single.
Hampson’s 2023 goals? “Have a good year, contribute to this team, and most importantly win games for this team.”
Joey Wendle is on track to come back from the injured list next week, but Hampson has made the case to stay up with the big league team for a little longer than expected.