Blue Jays Morning Thought: Dalton Pompey needs to put fear behind him
They say that the game plays a lot faster once you reach the Major Leagues, and unfortunately, that’s a lesson that Dalton Pompey is learning in his first full season taste. The trick, of course, is finding a way to slow it down, and that is exactly what the Blue Jays and one of their prized rookies are trying to figure out.
So it wasn’t really much of a surprise when Pompey stepped in front of the Toronto media on Sunday afternoon and admitted to playing a bit tentatively.
"“I’ve found ever since the season started I’ve been playing somewhat scared,” said Pompey, “just because I don’t want to make a mistake and take a situation like that where I couldn’t bail out my pitcher.” – (h/t Jeff Blair, Sportsnet)"
At the time, he was talking about his play in center field, but Dalton Pompey could easily be addressing his entire 2015 effort to this point. Through his first 12 games, the 22-year-old has scuffled at the plate, hitting just .188/.264/.354. At times, he’s looked uncomfortable at the plate and other times, he’s been dialed in.
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Of course, one could hardly blame Dalton Pompey for being a little tepid. Like Daniel Norris, Pompey made a meteoric climb to the Major Leagues in 2014. After spending the first half of last season at Single-A Dunedin, the young outfielder jumped to Double-A New Hampshire (31 games) to Triple-A Buffalo (12 games) to Toronto (13 games) in short order. Granted he made the adjustments fairly quickly at those levels, mostly out of a need to do so. However, one important thing is lost by spending so little time at the high minors.
Those are the levels meant to help you adjust to the speed of play at the top, and Dalton Pompey barely got to unpack his bags before moving along to the next step.
That shouldn’t be difficult for Pompey. We’re just 12 games into the season and Pompey has shown an ability to persevere and grow. He started his Double-A career going 5 for 40 (.125) in his first 12 games before turning that into a 28 for 72 (.389) stretch over his last 19 contests for the Fisher Cats. Pompey then went on to collect 19 hits in 59 at-bats for Triple-A Buffalo before getting the promotion. Oh, and did I mention he was a minor league Gold Glove winner in 2013?
Granted, Double-A is a LOT different than the Major Leagues are, but this shows the ability of the young man to put struggles behind him and come out the on the other side in better shape. The point here being that Dalton Pompey is going to figure it out and he’s going to be a very, very good Major League player once he settles into the speed of play and starts to turn things around. That may require a bit of a change of mindset for the rookie, but it is one he knows he’s going to make.
"“My whole life, I’ve played aggressively and for some reason I haven’t been as aggressive as I can be these past 10 games. I need to take a situation like this and go back to being the player I was.”"
Mark my words, Dalton Pompey will come out of this stronger than he went in. And he will more than earn his keep as the starting center fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, both this year and for many years to come.
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