How much will Garrett Hampson help the KC Royals this season?

The versatile Hampson is an intriguing role player
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The KC Royals roster is beginning to take shape as spring training nears an end. While the everyday starters seem to be locked in place, Garrett Hampson will find a home as a bench option. What sort of production will he give the Royals in 2024?

After a career-best season with Miami, Hampson joins the Royals as a super-utility type player, but his offensive value is uncertain. His 2023 slash line of .276/.349/.380 (101 wRC+) helped make the season his most productive yet, but an outlandish .379 BABIP might hint at some regression. He hit three home runs with five stolen bases across 98 games.

Hampson doesn't hit the ball especially hard, but he feasted on fastballs last year. According to Baseball Savant, he had a .352 batting average against the pitch type. One driving factor behind his success was his ability to hit more line drives.

Hampson's flexibility on defense is undoubtedly his most compelling attribute. Hampson played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions for Miami. He finished with -2 OAA but remains one of the quickest players in the game.

How FanGraphs projects Garrett Hampson's 2024 performance for the KC Royals

FanGraphs (Depth Charts) projects Hampson will slash .244/.309/.351 in 49 games, which would be serviceable but somewhat underwhelming, He's also projected to hit three home runs, drive in 18 runs, steal six bases, and finish with a 0.2 fWAR.

What will Garrett Hampson's actual impact be this season?

Hampson probably won't put together a phenomenal offensive season, but his presence as an adaptable defender makes his inclusion on the roster an understandable decision. While Adam Frazier likely can fill many of the same infield spots, Hampson will also find time in the outfield.

Although he's a speedster, Hampson attempted only five stolen bases last year. He was successful each time, driving the question if he will run more frequently in 2024. He stole a career-high 17 bases in 2021 with Colorado. The Royals were one of the greediest teams in the league last year, ranking third in stolen bases, so they may ask Hampson to turn stealing into a notable part of his game again.

Hampson says his offensive skill set will translate with more success than in the past — he told's Anne Rogers, "I learned a lot about myself as a player [in Miami], grew a lot in one year," Hampson said. "Things weren’t as great in Colorado for me. I didn’t feel like I was doing what I was capable of. And last year was a big step forward for me, so I feel really good going into this offseason..."

If Hampson hits .240 with some timely extra-base hits, and continues to play effective defense, he'll be a good and helpful fit on the Royals' roster. With several players fighting for playing time, though,it's unlikely Hampson will play many more than the 49 games FanGraphs projects.

More from Kings of Kauffman