On August 20th, the future CF of the Toronto Blue Jays, Dalton Pompey, tweeted out he’s now one step closer to the major leagues. Shaun Doyle was quick to inform Jays Journal readers of the promotion.
Heading to Buffalo tomorrow! Extremely excited. So close I can almost taste it. My dream is starting to become a reality!
— Dalton Pompey (@DaltonPompey) August 20, 2014
This is good news for Pompey, the Buffalo Bisons, and the Jays organization. The major knock against the Blue Jays farm system is that it lacks positional prospects…. which is a very fair assessment. Dalton Pompey is one of many Canadian prospects working their way through the Jays minor league system, so having him reach triple-A this year is a very encouraging sign.
After my excitement over the promotion subsided, I couldn’t help but wonder if he will actually develop into an every day player. So I started to look at some of my favorite center fielders to play for the Jays over the years and thought I would look at how Pompey compares to those guys. I was assisted by a very well written piece by ‘s David Harrison of backinblue.ca with his top 10 centerfielders in Blue Jays history.
I removed Llyod Moseby right off the bat because he was such an amazing athlete and ballplayer that I don’t want place those lofty expectations on Pompey.
I also eliminated Devon White because he seemed to be faster than Pompey. Oddly enough Devon White’s minor stats looks very similar to Anthony Gose‘s. Oh, I also ruled out Anthony Gose just because I don’t want Pompey to be Anthony Gose 2.0.
Vernon Wells (6’1″, 230lbs)
Shannon Stewart (6’0″, 175lbs)
Dalton Pompey (6’1″, 170)
The first things that jumped out at me was the power of Wells and the plate discipline of Stewart. I decided to add speed to the comparison as well and these three factors were used as the jumping off point for my comparison.
The most home runs Wells hit in a minor league season was 18 (as 20-year-old), which he hit over three levels in 1999. This year Pompey has also advanced three levels and has hit nine home runs, which would be a career high. There is only a handful of games left in the Buffalo Bisons regular season, so it’s unlikely Pompey will hit many more home runs. The good news is that the Buffalo Bisons are playing great baseball right now and are only a couple games out of the wild card spot…..which means Pompey might get some playoff experience. Wells clearly demonstrated the ability to hit for far more power than Pompey has thus far. In 1996, Stewart hit 6 home runs as a 22-year-old while spending the entire season at Triple-A. Pompey’s power is clearly more in line with Stewart’s.
Wells highest OPB was achieved in high-A ball (.403) as a 20-year-old and went down as he was promoted. Wells never struck out a 100 times like Pompey did last season, but he also never walked 63 times as Pompey did last year. Pompey’s highest OBP of .442 was achieved in 11 games of rookie ball but that was a small sample size. I would rather look at his .397 with Dunedin and .378 with New Hampshire this year.
Stewart walked 89 times as a 21 year old at Double-A. That year Stewart had a .398 OBP and struck out 61 times. Pompey has walked 49 times and struck out 74 times in 2014. It’s clear Stewart’s eye was superior to the one Pompey currently possesses today.
Despite some recent hamstring issues Pompey has been able to swipe 37 bags and has been caught just seven times. Wells best base stealing season was in 1999 and 2000, with 24/5 and 23/4 (SB/CS). Both Pompey and Wells hit close to the same number of extra bases – both hit a lot of triples, but Wells seemed to accumulate a few more doubles, which likely has more to do with power than speed.
Pompey’s speed attribute compares much better to Stewart’s. Stewart hit about the same number of triples as he did home runs, which Pompey has done this year with 9 triples and 9 home runs. The 2012 season was a write-off for Pompey due to leg issues, but 2013 saw Pompey steal 38 and was caught 10 times. This year, Pompey has stolen 37 and has been caught 7 times. Stewart stole 42/16 (SB/CS) in Double-A as a 21-year-old and 35/8 as a 22-year-old in triple-A.
In closing, Pompey looks to compare more favourably to Shannon Stewart… at the plate. Everything I’ve heard about Pompey’s defense indicates that he should be able to stick there, which Stewart was unable to do. The major separator between Wells and Pompey was Wells ability to go yard.
One thing is certain, Pompey will be getting a lot of fan attention this off-season. As fans we must learn to show patience with Pompey because getting to Triple-A is just one step. Both Wells and Stewart spent the better part of two full seasons at Triple-A so don’t be surprised (or disappointed) if Pompey ends up doing the same.