A few days before the Major League All-Star game every year, a minor league showcase game called the Futures Game is played. The game features top full-season prospects from who are split into two teams: one from the United States and the other comprised of players from the rest of the world. Every organization in baseball contributes their best minor league talent to the two rosters and, as reported on Wednesday by Gregor Chisholm at MLB.com, Blue Jays prospects Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey will represent the organization at the game on Sunday, July 13th, in Minnesota.
Norris, an imposing pitcher, and Pompey, a speedy centerfielder, have preformed exceptionally well this season are highly deserving of a spot on these prestigious teams.
Norris has been a hot topic on this site during the course of this season, and his pitching has certainly warranted the attention. The 6’2” left-hander from Johnson City, Tennessee has carried over the mechanical adjustments he made last season in Low-A ball with Lansing pitching coach Vince Horsman, which has helped him maintain a more consistent delivery.
At the beginning of last season Norris was struggling with walks, but harnessing his delivery has allowed him to address his control problems and dominate thus far. Over 13 starts for Class A Dunedin, Norris posted a sterling 1.22 ERA with 76 strikeouts and only 18 walks over 66 1/3 innings – helping lead the D-Jays to a division title along the way. He was recently promoted to Double A New Hampshire to accommodate his obvious need for tougher competition, but even the next level up might not be enough for Norris. He was roughed up in his first start for the Fisher Cats, but he then went on to dominate the best team in Double A in his subsequent start this past Tuesday. Despite his recent string of success Norris has remained a man of tremendous character, and he was humbled by the opportunity to represent the Blue Jays and the U.S. team at the Futures Game.
Pompey began the season as Norris’ teammate in Dunedin but the two parted ways once Norris left for New Hampshire, and they will not be reunited in the same jerseys at the Futures Game either. That is because Pompey was born north of the 49th parallel, in Mississauga, Ontario, and as a Canadian he will represent the World team against the U.S. The 16th round draft-pick from John Fraser Secondary School in 2010 has somewhat quietly put up solid minor league numbers until his breakout season this season. Pompey currently leads the D-Jays with a .317 batting average and a .397 on base percentage, with 28 stolen bases over 69 games so far this season. He also leads all minor leaguers in the Blue Jays organization with 86 hits over that span. Pompey’s recent string of success has garnered him well-deserved attention as well, and he as even been mentioned as a possible centerpiece in a potential trade for Chicago Cubs’ ace Jeff Samardzija.