Coming in at number twenty-three on the Jays Journal top 30 prospects list is the first (and only) Canadian, a Mississauga native who, despite being selected in the middle rounds of the draft, has already made some waves in the Blue Jays farm system and is finally receiving some much deserved recognition.
Dalton Pompey running fielding drills during minor league spring training, 2012 (Image via MLBProspectPortal.com)
Name: Dalton Pompey
Date of Birth: 12/11/1992 (20)
Acquired: Selected in the 16th round of the 2010 draft ($150,000 USD)
High School: Fraser Secondary (Mississauga, ON)
College: Had commitment to NAIA St. Francis
Height/Weight: 6’1”/170 lbs
Awards and Accomplishments:
- Unranked on 2012 top 30 prospects list
2012 Statistics and Analysis
70 AB, .286/.375/.429 (.804 OPS), 4 2B, 3 3B, 0 HR, 8 RBI, 5 SB, 10/14 BB/K
Pompey’s season got off to a brilliant start with Vancouver, as through his first 10 games he amassed a .292/.442/.441 slash line. Unfortunately, in his eleventh game of the year, he went down with a broken hand. Pompey was placed on the minor league disabled list and it was expected the injury would be season ending, but he fought through rehab and made his way back to play in another nine games between Bluefield and Lansing. Pompey still has a lot of filling out to do, and Vancouver is a hard place to hit for power, so the zero home runs aren’t particularly alarming. He did put his highly regarded speed on display, as he went 5-for-6 on stolen base attempts, raising his career numbers to 32-for 35. The biggest improvement we saw from Pompey in 2012 was his plate discipline, as after striking out 68 times in 71 games between 2010 and 2011, he whiffed just 14 times in 20 games last season.
Video (via MLBProspectPortal.com)
Despite an average height of 6-foot-1, Pompey stands tall in the box, expanding his length while facing the pitcher with an open stance. His upper half, particularly his hands, can get very busy as he awaits the pitch. It’s something that is usually ignored if the player is performing, but if he finds himself in an extended slump it’s likely one of the first things a hitting coach will want to clean up. Pompey has good weight transfer and solid bat speed, but he does wrap the bat prior to his swing. It’s something that should be fixed, as his game isn’t based around power and his contact ability would benefit from a shorter swing path.
Pompey’s best tools are his bat and speed, which makes him an intriguing option in centerfield. The 20 year old is a switch hitter, and while it’s still very early in his career, he’s proven to be better at facing right handed pitching than the lefties. He has a sound plate approach, as in addition to his improvements in avoiding the strikeout, he works the count and takes walks at an above average rate. Pompey uses the opposite field well, but his limited power is currently on the pull side. Because of his lean frame, his ultimate power ceiling may only be fringe-average (10-15 home runs), but that’s more than acceptable for his position, especially when considering how much of a weapon his legs are. Pompey is a plus runner who reads pitchers extremely well, allowing him to be a highly proficient base stealer. The overall offensive package is very intriguing.
Admittedly, the value provided by the offense takes a legitimate hit if Pompey is forced to move to an outfield corner. He doesn’t have the physicality expected of a left fielder, and his merely average arm wouldn’t suit right field at all. That’s not a problem Toronto has to face quite yet, as they’re giving him every opportunity to prove he can stick in center. Of his 19 starts in the outfield in 2012, 17 of them came out in centerfield. Pompey has excellent range thanks to his aforementioned plus speed, but his technique is still on the raw side. He doesn’t always make the correct first step or take the proper routes to balls, but those issues are commonplace in short season ball. If he can smooth out the edges on defense, his speed gives him an above average projection in center.
The perfect world projection for Dalton Pompey would be an everyday centerfielder who hits second in the lineup; second division starter.
2013 Outlook, Risk, and ETA
The broken hand was a devastating injury for both Pompey and the Blue Jays, as he was easily on pace to see Lansing for an extended look in August. The five games he saw late in the year shouldn’t be considered much more than a rehab assignment, as he was coming off a long layoff and it’s doubtful he was near 100%. While the development timeline was a little sidetracked, Pompey has a chance to recover with a strong full season debut in 2013. He’s not a high maintenance or upside prospect, so his performance should dictate the flow of his year. Should he follow in Kevin Pillar’s footsteps and demolish the Midwest League in the first half, a stint with Dunedin isn’t out of the question. His future is highly dependent upon his bat which isn’t fully developed, and considering he’s coming off a lost season, the long term risk with Pompey is very high. A realistic ETA if things break right would be September 2015 or the first half of 2016.