Blue Jays: Has Dalton Pompey’s Window Closed?

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 14: Dalton Pompey
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 14: Dalton Pompey /

Dalton Pompey began the 2015 season as the starting centre fielder in Toronto, and after struggles and injury since, he could be on the 40 man roster bubble this offseason.

The Blue Jays have had a few great Canadian hopes over the last few years, including free agent addition Russell Martin, trade acquisition Brett Lawrie, and some kid they drafted a few years back by the name of Dalton Pompey. There are others as well, and it’s been great to see baseball in Canada grow, and to see more Canucks make it all the way to the show.

In Dalton Pompey’s case, he looked like the type of toolsy centre fielder the Blue Jays had been lacking for several years, and starting out the 2015 season with the full time gig. Unfortunately, he struggled early on and was ultimately sent back to Triple A to work on things. While he waited for the promotion to come back up and battled various injuries, he watched Kevin Pillar unexpectedly flourish in the job, and he was left out of the picture until the playoff stretch, relegated mostly to pinch running duties.

Since then he’s been waiting for that opportunity again, but he’s also spent a great deal of time on the disabled list. In fact, he played in just 13 games in 2017, and it all started with a fairly innocent looking play during the World Baseball Classic, when he was representing Team Canada. He suffered a concussion on an attempted steal of second base, and was out until summer waiting to resolve the related issues that came from the injury.

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Once again injury struck him later in the season, as he suffered a knee injury while doing rehab on his way back from concussion protocol. It was just one piece of bad news after another for the Canadian outfielder, especially disappointing in a season where he’d hoped to make the jump to the highest level. Watching him during his brief play with Team Canada, he looked like a guy that could help the Blue Jays in 2017, and unfortunately the concussion took that opportunity away from him and the club, who could have used him.

He was recently reinstated from the 60 day disabled list on November 3rd, and will need to be on the 40 man roster before the Rule 5 draft takes place in December, unless the Blue Jays decide to expose him. While it’s possible they could choose to do that, it seems unlikely at this stage. They do have several others to protect including Danny Jansen, Conner Greene, Reese McGuire and more, but hopefully they’ll be able to find room to keep Pompey around, and ultimately an opportunity to prove himself before they have to watch him walk away in a waiver claim, or sell for pennies on the dollar. If they did leave him exposed, you’d have to think that someone, say a guy like Alex Anthopoulos of the Atlanta Braves, might jump in and scoop him up for nothing.

He’s been some public appearances recently and looks to be healthy, but until we see him on the baseball diamond on a consistent basis it’s hard to say what the future holds for the 24 year old. At this stage he’s expected to be healthy and ready to compete for a spot on the team during spring training, but a lot could happen before then.

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After a year when it seemed like everything stacked up against him, here’s hoping we’ll see the opposite in 2018, and get a chance to really see what he’s got to offer at the highest level. In a cloudy outfield picture for next season, he’s the type of player who could be a surprise contributor, that is of course, IF he can stay healthy for once. With a long offseason in front of us, we’ll see if he’s afforded that opportunity in Toronto or not.