Shortstop U is a real thing.
I’m starting to think it has something to do with the Blair Field dirt, because every guy that plays shortstop at Long Beach State turns into a big leaguer. I think we have a real life “Like Mike” situation going on over there and the Dirtbags keep producing Calvin Cambridges/Lil’ Bow Wows.
The latest on the list is former Dirtbags shortstop Garrett Hampson, who made his MLB debut for the Colorado Rockies on Saturday. Hampson was the 50th former LBSU player to reach the bigs in program history and the 1,000th Dirtbag shortstop in the MLB in the last 15 years—or at least that’s how it feels.
People often forget that Chris Gomez, Bobby Crosby, Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria, Danny Espinosa, and Matt Duffy all played shortstop at LBSU and then excelled at the big league level. Hampson might only be up for a short amount of time this season, while Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu recovers from an oblique strain, but when he spends his first full season in the MLB, Hampson will definitely be the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year Award.
In each of the last six cases that a Dirtbags shortstop has been up for the award, each finished in the top six of the voting. Crosby (2002) and Longoria (2008) both won the award, while Tulowitzki (2007) and Duffy (2015) both finished second. Tulowitzki lost out to Ryan Braun who is an avid steroid user and Duffy lost to Kris Bryant, who spells his name with a “K,” so technically both can be considered the real R.O.Y.
Dirtbag shortstops are MLB-ready right out of the womb and Hampson is there after a solid performance in his debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks. After grounding out in his first MLB at-bat in the third inning, Hampson hit a rocket off the left field wall off Zack Godley in the fifth for his first hit, double, and RBI of his career. He finished the night going 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI, a run scored, a walk, and a strikeout, proving he can fill up the stat sheet. Just a true team guy.
The Rockies beat the D-backs 6-5 and are two games back of the Dodgers in the National League West standings.
In 53 games with Triple-A Albuquerque, Hampson is hitting .306 with four home runs and 10 doubles, while playing shortstop, second base, and center field. It seems as if the game is getting too easy for him and as the saying goes: if you can hit, they’ll find a spot for you.
Well, the new saying should be: if you played shortstop at Shortstop U, they’ll find a spot for you.