Dalton Pompey has been told that he’s going to get to play a lot this spring, and it could be the opportunity he’s been waiting for to show what he can do.
Back in 2014 it looked like the Blue Jays had a speedy Canadian lined up to be their centre fielder of the future, and a talented one at that.
Fast forward five years, and Dalton Pompey is still waiting for another opportunity to establish himself as a big league player. After struggling with a starting job in his first go-around, as prospects often do, Pompey has found himself on the outside looking in over the last number of years, and for a variety of reasons. Whether it was roster room on those playoff teams of 2015-16, extended concussion problems, or other trips to disabled list, Pompey’s story has not gone according to plan so far.
This season is a fresh start for the Mississauga native though, and it sounds like he’s going to get a lot of opportunity during the Spring Training. In fact, according to a tweet from TSN’s Scott Mitchell, Pompey has been told, “he’s going to get a lot of playing time early on in Grapefruit League games”. and that could be for a couple of different reasons. Mitchell also said in the tweet, “don’t call it a comeback, call it a showcase”.
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As we’ve noted here several times at Jays Journal this winter, Pompey is out of minor league options, which means the Blue Jays can’t send him to Triple-A this year as they have in the past. They’ll need to either a) include him on the Opening Day roster, b) cut him loose, or c) trade him to another team. It’s possible that he could end up back in Buffalo if both sides are interested in continuing the relationship anyway, but I would assume that Pompey would look for another opportunity elsewhere if he doesn’t make the team.
To that end, my guess is the Blue Jays really want to have one more long look at the speedy outfielder before they make any decisions. There were and are a lot of reasons that he made his way to the big leagues at such a young age, and he’s still young enough at 26 that he’s got time for a nice MLB career.
He will be in a battle for playing time in Toronto though, as the Jays have Kevin Pillar and Randal Grichuk as expected starters, and then a battle in left field that could include Teoscar Hernandez, Billy McKinney, and maybe even Jonathan Davis, Dwight Smith Jr., and Anthony Alford. Pompey does have the advantage (depending on how you look at it) of being out of options though, so he could get the first crack at a fourth outfielder’s job at least.
It’s also possible that Ross Atkins and company have already decided to move on too though, which could be part of why he’s going to get a “showcase” early on. If they aren’t planning on having him as part of the 25 man roster, then the ideal scenario would be to trade him elsewhere and try to get something of value in return. The Blue Jays have also talked about potentially using Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Devon Travis in the outfield this year as well, so it could be a case of there not being enough playing time for him, even if they’d like to keep Pompey in the fold.
Personally, I’m hoping that he sticks around Toronto and is given another shot in a Blue Jays jersey. However, if that’s not going to happen then I do wish him the best and hope that an opportunity for a MLB job waits for him somewhere. For a guy with as much talent as he showed early on in his career, I have a feeling that his best days in baseball have yet to come.