Toronto Blue Jays Dalton Pompey More Likely Part of 2017
By David Hill
Dalton Pompey was expected to be a key part of the Toronto Blue Jays success last season. What can be expected of the young outfielder this year?
Heading into the 2015 season, Dalton Pompey was one of the top prospects in baseball. A speedster with a bit of pop, Pompey was expected to hold down the Toronto Blue Jays center field position for the foreseeable future, becoming a part of the next playoff team.
While the Blue Jays did make the postseason last year, Pompey flamed out. He posted a .193/.264/.337 batting line with 22 strikeouts in 83 at bats through May 1st before being sent back to the minors. He then struggled at AAA before being sent down to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the Eastern League, where he began to turn his season around. Eventually, Pompey returned to the Blue Jays, albeit as a defensive replacement or pinch runner down the stretch.
Even though Pompey is still expected to be a major part of the Blue Jays future, the problem is what to do with him this upcoming season. His struggles, as well as those of anyone that Toronto put in left, led to the acquisition of Ben Revere, while Kevin Pillar had his coming out party last season. Pompey, at least at this point in time, seems to be on the outside looking in.
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For Dalton Pompey to make the Toronto Blue Jays roster out of Spring Training, one of two things would likely need to happen. First, he would need to have a truly stellar spring, to the point where his production forces the Blue Jays to keep him on the roster. Otherwise, Pompey may need an injury in the outfield to open a spot, allowing him to find his way into the lineup.
Of course, Pompey could slot in as the Blue Jays fourth outfielder. Although he has primarily been a center fielder for most of his career, Pompey does have experience at both corner outfield positions. However, Pompey may only see playing time three times a week in that alignment, leading to the question of whether or not he would benefit from more consistent playing time in Buffalo instead of staying in the majors at the start of the season.
Following the 2016 season, it would appear as though Pompey is very much a part of the Blue Jays plans. Jose Bautista is a free agent after this upcoming season, and Revere has not exactly proven to be great offensively outside of his run in Toronto. Given that uncertainty in the outfield, Pompey still appears to be a pivotal part of the Blue Jays future.
That future may take another year to arrive however. Having just turned 23 years old, Dalton Pompey still needs time to develop. While a hot start at Buffalo may push up the time frame, Pompey seems more likely to make an impact on the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 instead of next season.