Blue Jays: The best way this could play out for Dalton Pompey
Dalton Pompey is going to get some playing time the Blue Jays in the near future, and it could be a live audition for the Canadian outfielder.
The Blue Jays started the day with Randal Grichuk and Steve Pearce on the disabled list from their outfield picture, and Curtis Granderson had to leave in the 2nd inning against the Rays as well with tightness in his hamstring. It’s not a great thing for the Blue Jays, but selfishly it’s good for a couple of guys, probably Dalton Pompey more so than anyone.
The Canadian outfielder was called up to the Blue Jays before Friday’s game, giving the Blue Jays another switch-hitter for their outfield. With Granderson more or less relegated to hitting against right-handed pitching, it was expected that Pompey would at least face lefties until Pearce was healthy. He may get a little extra playing time now, especially if he performs well and Granderson has to miss some time due to injury.
The Blue Jays outfield picture has been talked about at length this season, and for once it’s because of the abundance of depth rather than a lack of it. They entered the season with Pearce, Grichuk, Granderson, and Kevin Pillar as their expected group, but Teoscar Hernandez’s hitting has forced John Gibbons into getting him into the lineup, at least for now. That “problem” of too many bats in the outfield has quickly evaporated though, which is what lead to both Dalton Pompey’s promotion, and Dwight Smith Jr’s short stint the day before.
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For Pompey the opportunity represents a few different things. Not the least of which is the fact that he’s healthy and back on a big league roster, something that he’s been trying to do for a few years now after struggling with various injuries into concussion issues, wrist problems, and more. It’s a chance for him to remind the front office and the Blue Jays’ fan base why he was a highly rated prospect at one time, and that at 25 there is still time for him to have a successful major league career.
It’s also a chance for the rest of the league to see what he can do.
Don’t get me wrong, right now the Blue Jays actually need the depth, and if there’s anything we’ve learned from watching the last couple of seasons, it’s that depth is a major asset for any organization. Pompey’s ability to play all three outfield positions is a plus, as is the speed he brings to the base paths. He may not be a superstar in the waiting, but there’s a reason the Blue Jays have kept him around this many years.
That said, there is also a pretty big logjam in the outfield in Toronto, even with the injuries. In addition to the loaded group including Granderson/Pillar/Grichuk/Pearce/Hernandez, there are others who are capable including Pompey, Smith Jr, and also Anthony Alford, the Blue Jays’ third highest rated prospect. I know it hasn’t even really been discussed yet, but I could see Solarte getting some reps in the corners as well later in the season, especially if there ever comes a time when Devon Travis, Troy Tulowitzki, and Josh Donaldson are all healthy at the same time.
Because of the large number of capable bodies, this could be a chance for Pompey to show another outfield-needy organization that he has what it takes to play at the highest level, even if there likely isn’t room for him in Toronto in the long term. It would be a shame to see the Canuck flourishing outside of his home country, but it would be better than him never doing it at all.
He’ll get that opportunity in Toronto at least until Steve Pearce is back, or perhaps longer if Granderson’s injury is worse than it looked. Hopefully the Mississauga native can capitalize on it and propel himself to a successful big league career, even if that’s somewhere other than Toronto.