Dalton Pompey has been one of the Toronto Blue Jays’ best prospects for the past couple years. However, the young outfielder doesn’t seem to fit right now.
No longer a stranger to the major leagues, Dalton Pompey is looking for a place in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
Pompey was once an afterthought as the Blue Jays’ 16th-round selection in 2012 out of high school. Since then he has done a great job to move from a mid-teen draft pick to one of the of the franchise’s blue chip prospects.
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Prior to the 2015 regular season, Baseball Prospectus had ranked Pompey as the 42nd best farmhand in the game. Baseball America had the tools outfielder ranked in the top 30 in baseball prior to the 2015 season as well.
However, the path to the major leagues might not have been as smooth as Pompey might have thought. Jose Bautista has been a stalwart in the Blue Jays outfield for the past five years and Kevin Pillar seems like the long-term solution in center field.
That leaves left field as the lone spot open this season. Manager John Gibbons will likely turn to Melvin Upton Jr. and Ezequiel Carrera as a platoon duo in left during 2017. This leaves Pompey to rack up everyday at-bats in Triple-A.
The 24-year-old has spent three stints in the majors, although it never turned into an everyday job. He appeared in 17 games as a Blue Jay in 2014. The next season he took the field 34 times, while he only suited up in a Blue Jays uniform on eight occasions last year.
This does not represent a strong vote of confidence for the once highly-touted outfielder. He’s been a productive player at all levels in the minor leagues. In 2016, Pompey posted a .349 on-base percentage paired with a .702 OPS.
He’s never hit double-digit homers in a single season, but he still has a solid hit tool and has speed that can make an impact. So, once Upton Jr. and and Bautista move on, will that give Pompey an unquestioned starting spot in Toronto? Well, not exactly.
Anthony Alford is highly thought of around the league. He’s the third-rated prospect in the Blue Jays farm system, according to MLB Pipeline. He’s set to open his 2017 campaign in Double-A, so he’s not that far away. Harold Ramirez will play with Dalton Pompey in the outfield down on the farm as well. Also, there’s always a chance that the Blue Jays open up their pocketbook after the team failed to re-sign Edwin Encarnacion or Michael Saunders this offseason.
Josh Donaldson will be priority number one moving forward, but the Blue Jays outfield is undoubtedly unsettled in the long term. Team management hasn’t given Pompey a chance as a regular during his young career thus far, and barring an injury, he won’t be a factor in the majors this upcoming season.
If Pompey continues to put up solid numbers at the minor league level, it could set him up nicely to make an impact a year from now. It’s been a tough journey going up and down over the last three years, but without any long-term commitments in the outfield, Pompey looks to have a strong shot to be a building block for the Blue Jays moving forward if he can convince the front office that he’s better than his counterparts and any alternatives around the league.