Short answer: No
As a fresh faced 22-year-old native of Mississauga, Dalton Pompey opened the season the Toronto Blue Jays Center-fielder; unfortunately, after struggling in the field and at the plate he found himself in Triple-A Buffalo 23 games later.
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I believe that Pompey’s play in the field concerned the Jays staff more than his struggles at the plate, because it showed just how overwhelmed he was. When he was sent down to Triple-A, I did a piece suggesting that he stay in the minors for the rest of the season (read here). I wasn’t alone, the poll I added suggested the majority echoed my sentiment. With 603 total votes, only 125 (21%) felt that Pompey shouldn’t remain in the minors, compared to 423 (70%) who agreed with me.
With the promising young man back with the Jays, I felt it time to revisit this stance.
Dalton went to Buffalo and his struggles continued. He needed to be sent to Double-A New Hampshire before finally finding success. With the Fisher Cats, Pompey produced a slash line of .351/.405/.545 with a .950 OPS while hitting 6 home runs. He remained in New Hampshire until July 16th, when he received a promotion back to Buffalo.
The Jays could have called him up after hitting .354 in June or after hitting .354 in July, but they showed restraint, they show patience, and they showed common sense. Instead of having Pompey fighting for at-bats and looking over his shoulder after an 0-4 day, they let him play everyday.
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In Buffalo, Pompey struggled to find his power stroke, but he ran into some nagging injuries (wrist and ankle). More important than his power outage was that Pompey began to show more patience at the plate. He’s always shown good patience, but he also had a tendency to over swing and do too much in one at-bat. In Buffalo, it appeared that the game slowed down. He became more selective, as he walked 12.2% compared to 7.4% in New Hampshire, and his K rate decreased from 15.5% in NH to 13.9%.
By leaving Pompey in the minors and not pulling a Travis Snider on him, the Jays allowed Pompey a chance to get everyday at-bats, to gain confidence, to work on becoming a better players, and to develop in the minors away from the Toronto media. The franchise will be better for it.
Pompey has the patience and speed of a future major league lead-off hitter. He has the power potential to be a very good number two hitter, hitting line drives 22.5% in Buffalo and registering a solid .332 BABIP. Pompey will add power as he matures as a hitter and could end up being a 5-tool outfielder. Oh, he is also a switch hitter which would be great at the top of the order.
Now its time for Dalton Pompey to develop the feel for playoff baseball. Having him one the bench for the playoff push will give him a taste of winning, a taste for a pennant drive, and will make him hungry to play bigger part on a winning team next year.
Leaving Dalton in the minors all year may prove to be the best move GM Alex Anthopoulos didn’t make all year.