On Tuesday afternoon, preliminary rosters were announced for the Arizona Fall League, Major League Baseball’s annual short season in the desert where top prospect go to shine. Among those with their tickets punched are three representatives from the Toronto Blue Jays.
First and foremost is Blue Jays #3 prospect, as ranked by MLB.com, Dalton Pompey. The 21-year-old native of Mississaugua, Ontario has enjoyed quite the busy summer in 2014, spending time at three levels and leading off for the international team in this year’s All-Star Futures Game.
Starting the year in Single-A Dunedin, Pompey slashed .319/.397/.471 with a 149 wRC+ and playing outstanding defense for the D-Jays. That earned him a mid-season promotion to Double-A New Hampshire, where Pompey continued his hot hitting with a .295/.378/.473 batting line and a wRC+ of 138 before forcing his way up to Triple-A Buffalo. With the Bisons for just four games, Pompey is handling Triple-A pitching to the tune of .333/.400/.389 with a wRC+ of 124.
Of, and did I mention he’s also converted 41 of 48 stolen base attempts this summer?
It’s that type of performance that has fans in Toronto salivating for their newly anointed center fielder of the future.
Pompey will be joined in the Mesa Solar Sox outfield by former D-Jays teammate Dwight Smith Jr. Also 21, Smith has enjoyed a fine season of his own in High-A, posting a .285/.360/.452 slash-line with 11 home runs, 59 RBI, and 81 runs scored in 117 games. A first round pick in 2011, Smith has now compiled two consecutive steady seasons in the minors as he looks to make the leap to Double-A next season.
Also representing the Blue Jays will be Jon Berti, who currently has been playing the role of super-utilityman for Double-A New Hampshire. In 129 games with the Fisher Cats, Berti has slashed .272/.325/.377 with 7 home runs and 50 RBI. However, Berti’s inclusion in the AFL feels more like an evaluation, similar to what the Jays did a season ago with Kenny Wilson.
Play will begin on Tuesday October 7th and run through November 15th. Before play begins, the Blue Jays are expected to add a few more players, with each team being permitted to send seven total members to the AFL.