Blue Jays looking for more from Dalton Pompey on defence
The Blue Jays seem to be growing more comfortable with Dalton Pompey beginning the year in triple-A Buffalo as he continues his development
Dalton Pompey is going from underdog to unlikely in left field for the 2016 Toronto Blue Jays.
After an up-and-down 2015 season, it seemed that Pompey had to primarily focus on his offensive game to resurface at the major league level. Especially given his prowess on the base paths and his very strong defensive profile.
Not the case.
Speaking with Scott MacArthur or TSN, manager John Gibbons expressed that Pompey’s work in the field still has room for improvement.
“He’s still a work in progress there,” said Gibbons. “He’s got tremendous range out there but it’s something he’s got to keep working on. One thing, guys struggle with the bat in this game. They go through their ups and downs; I don’t care how good of hitters they are. One thing that’s got to be a given is your defence. You shouldn’t have to worry about that. You may struggle at the plate but you still go out there and make the plays. He needs to concentrate hard on that.”
MacArthur added that one Blue Jays observer described Pompey’s outfield work to this point as being “disappointing”.
It’s a unexpected issue for the young Canadian, whose defence has been considered a plus tool with elite-level potential through his prospect days.
Much like his early struggles in 2015, Pompey does credit some of these defensive issues to his confidence in the field.
“I made a couple of mistakes and the mistake that I made was just dwelling on it almost a little too much instead of turning the page and moving forward,” Pompey told MacArthur. “Everybody makes mistakes. I’m going to be better off for it, obviously, going through stuff like that. I’ve hit the highs, made diving catches and I’ve also had the lows where I’ve dropped a ball.”
With Junior Lake and Ezequiel Carrera already on the 40-man roster and both offering some level of value, the Blue Jays do have the option to start Pompey back in the minors without having a thin spot on the roster. Especially if Michael Saunders can stay healthy.
For the organization’s part, Gibbons does admit that the club may have rushed him in 2015.
“He’s the future here, really. But he’s got to earn that; he’s got to play well. He showed us glimpses of the talent he has but I do think, in a lot of ways, we rushed him. He probably wasn’t ready necessarily and he struggled with that last year.”