Generally speed was hard to find in 2019, but there were six players to steal at least 8 bases in September. The savvy owner, looking to make up ground late in the season, were able to do so if they hit the wire early as there is a good chance some of the names were available:
- Adalberto Mondesi – 12
- Garrett Hampson – 9
- Jon Berti – 9
- Tommy Pham – 9
- Danny Santana – 8
- Jonathan Villar – 8
Most notably it was Hampson and Berti, who may have been owned at times during ’19 but were likely discarded prior to their flourishing finishes. Could the strong September springboard them into being 2020 difference makers? Let’s take a quick look:
Garrett Hampson – Colorado Rockies
He’s gotten hype in the past, but whether it has been Colorado’s general reluctance to give young players an opportunity or his own failure to seize an opportunity he’s always fallen flat. That changed dramatically in September, as he got regular AB either at 2B or in the OF and delivered by hitting .318 with 5 HR, 8 RBI and 16 R to go along with the speed.
Speed has always been his strongest asset, having stolen at least 36 bases over the first three years of his career (including 51 in ’17). That speed should allow him to maintain (or come reasonably close) to his .354 BABIP in the month and whenever he was in the Majors in ’19 he showed a strong approach with an 8.3% SwStr% and 23.0% O-Swing% (6.6% and 24.9%, respectively, in September).
He’s not a speed only player, especially playing half his games in Coors Field, and he also has the ability with his approach to post a .280+ average. Simply put, everything points in the right direction. The biggest question is where the at bats will come from, but with his versatility that shouldn’t be an issue this time around.
We’ll take a deeper look as we get closer to draft day, but it’s a near lock for Hampson to find his way onto the majority of breakout/sleeper lists. The strong September is indicative of what’s possible, and that can’t be ignored.
Jon Berti – Miami Marlins
He was popular at times earlier in the season, but as the Marlins got healthy most thought the value would disappear. That obviously proved inaccurate, as Berti played in 22 games in September and delivered by hitting .287 with 7 RBI and 16 R. However, unlike with Hampson there are a few warning bells ringing when we start diving into the numbers:
- .417 BABIP – No matter what we knew it would seem unsustainable, but with a 28.3% Hard% we know it’ll plummet
- 10.3% SwStr% – It’s not an unusable number, but for a player with little power it also isn’t ideal
Berti plays in a much more spacious ballpark, which helps his average but could limit him to being a three-category producer (average, runs and stolen bases). He also isn’t a pure burner, and while he knows how to use what he has a 4 SB day against the Mets helped to skew the September results.
Of the two we also wouldn’t bet on Berti playing every day, potentially falling into a super utility role, so we wouldn’t get quite as excited about the outlook.
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com