John Gibbons: Dalton Pompey would be Blue Jays CF if season started today


Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons made an appearance in Prime Time Sports on Monday November 3rd to discuss a few Blue Jays related topics, including the trades, option pick-ups, and the status of the team’s hitting coach search. Gibbons was pretty frank about those topics with host Bob McCown, but it was one quote that really set fans hearts aflutter on Monday morning.

"“If it was to start tomorrow with what we have today, from what I saw last year, I would love to see Pompey out there. It was a short audition, he played very good, and we feel he’s got the chance to be a hell of a player.” – John Gibbons"


There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Dalton Pompey is the future in center field for the Toronto Blue Jays. The only real question is whether that future starts with the onset of the 2015 season or whether the team opts to start him at Triple-A. The 21-year-old Pompey has only seen 183 plate appearances in the minor leagues at Double-A or higher, so Toronto may want to see a bit more seasoning.

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That said, Pompey made the most of his 2014 season, vaulting to the top of the Blue Jays positional prospect list with a .317/.392/.469 batting line with 9 home runs, 51 RBI, and 43 stolen bases in the minors. That earned Pompey an early call-up to the Majors in September and he showed some solid chops. While the .231 batting average is a bit misleading in the context that it came in just 43 plate appearances for the Blue Jays, Pompey was much better over his 10 games, when Toronto finally gave him some starts, slashing .250/.325/.472 with a home run, a double, and a pair of triples.

The Blue Jays obviously liked what they saw, and opted to send Dalton Pompey back to the Arizona Fall League in October so they could get just a little more perception into what kind of player he’d be. He hasn’t disappointed in the desert either, hitting .291/.371/.436 with 4 doubled, 2 triples, and 8 stolen bases in 55 at-bats for the Mesa Solar Sox.

With free agency ahead for the Blue Jays, Toronto could still opt to fill the hole in center with a free agent, however there is a serious lack of viable candidates out there. The Blue Jays also have internal options in the platoon of Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar, but they would merely be placeholders for Pompey long-term. Additionally, one or both of them may be counted on to fill the gap in left field should Melky Cabrera depart via free agency.

That all said, Pompey likely still needs to earn the spot in Spring Training. However, if Toronto is already beginning to assess him in the big picture, the likelihood of Pompey’s full-time arrival in the big leagues isn’t far off and may impact their offseason plans for the position. With more pressing needs in the bullpen and the infield, having a plan with Pompey in the immediate future strikes one item off the winter checklist.