Blue Jays playoff roster: The case for Dalton Pompey


The Blue Jays playoff roster picture will slowly come into focus over the next few weeks, and the first dominos that need to fall will be those in the starting rotation. Once the situations with Marcus Stroman and Mark Buehrle have settled, the Blue Jays can choose between a four or five-man group, a decision which impacts opportunity elsewhere on the roster. Should the club lean towards a four-man rotation, the roster flexibility created could give Dalton Pompey a shot at being the 25th man.

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Such a scenario wouldn’t have been on the table earlier in the season, after an ugly April at the MLB level saw Pompey demoted to AAA Buffalo. Following more struggles at that level, he was unceremoniously sent to AA New Hampshire before turning his season around.

With the Fisher Cats, Pompey would produce a line of .351 / 405 / 545 over 31 games, hitting six home runs in the short span and playing encouraging defense in the field. His second stint with the Bisons went much better than the first, leading to his promotion early this month. Until this point Pompey has been a bench player, entering four games in the late innings, but there’s room for that come playoff time for the right player.

Pompey showed the Blue Jays his great potential value on September 1st, stealing second and third base to spark a 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians late. His speed profiles him as a base running menace, but his minor league numbers from this season do give me pause. Pompey stole 23 bases across AAA and AA, but was caught 10 times.

His defense will also play a critical role, and much of this conversation will come down to a conversation between he and Ezequiel Carrera. Do the Blue Jays want a known commodity who will produce at a replacement-level late in games, or a higher-risk option like Pompey whose game changing potential comes with great inexperience?

The health of the starting nine will factor greatly into this, as well, Troy Tulowitzki especially. If he is unable to return by the beginning of Toronto’s first series, or is due to return midway, the roster picture becomes clouded even further.

Playoff baseball, at least what I’ve heard of it through folk tales, is not a game dominated by 12-2 blowouts. In tight situations, upgrading the speed of a base runner from Justin Smoak or Chris Colabello to Dalton Pompey could be the difference between scoring a game-winning run and stranding a runner on third. The question remains, though, of whether or not that potential is enough for Pompey to hang his hat on.

In the remaining games, Pompey does not need to hit .450 to bolster his case. He’ll need to play great defense, steal a bag and avoid mental errors at all costs, then hope for some roster luck to fall his way. It’s an uphill climb for the Canadian, but his case isn’t as unlikely as it once was.

Next: Blue Jays top prospect review: Let's get Rowdy!

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