Dalton Pompey: First Impressions Of A Blue Jays Top Prospect
At first glance, Dalton Pompey resembled former Blue Jays second round pick and 20/20 outfielder Derek Bell. In 2014, the switch hitting Pompey has exploded onto the national prospect scene. After posting a .319/.397/.471 triple slash line in High-A, a .295/.378/.473 line in Double-A earned a late season promotion to Buffalo of the International League.
Few players move as quickly as Dalton Pompey has. When compared to former uber-prospect Gregory Polanco (scouting report), the Toronto center fielder has moved even faster than the current Pirates right fielder who was arguably the best prospect in baseball prior to his call up.
So what makes Dalton Pompey special? It was only a one game look, but the Canadian flashed enough tools and flaws to discuss what was seen, and what’s still required to round out the look.
Arriving early for batting practice, the expectation was for a full round including Pompey. Unfortunately, it took nearly 30-minutes to gain entrance into the stadium after acquiring the ticket and passing through security. After crossing the concourse and finding stadium daylight, Dalton Pompey took one swing to finish out the round, helped collect balls around the pitching screen and headed to center field for defensive work. It was a disappointing start to the day.
During batting practice, Pompey switched between fielding balls batted by a coach standing behind the center field batting practice screen and reading “live” balls off the bat. In center field, he glided to baseballs and left the impression he could cover gap-to-gap with ease. When many Triple-A players simply go through the motions pre-game, it was refreshing to see Pompey working hard with a coach when Anthony Gose was nowhere to be found.
At the plate, Dalton Pompey took his first three at bats from the right-handed batter’s box. Against left-handed pitcher Nik Turley, he struggled to adjust to off-speed pitchers and struck out twice. The swing was long and Pompey led with the bat handle — even when warming up in the on deck circle. This caused the bat head to drag through the zone.
In Dalton Pompey’s third at bat, Turley threw an upper-80’s fastball on the inner half. Unable to stay inside the baseball, he barreled the ball, but chopped it to third base. Spin and trajectory caused the ball to take a high hop over the third baseman’s head for a single.
Against a right-handed reliever, Pompey batted from the left side in his final plate appearance. The result was a shallow fly ball to left field, but Dalton Pompey’s bat whip was impressive and the swing plane was faster to the baseball. it’s always a plus when a player’s stronger side is left-handed given he’ll face more right-handed pitching. And while his splits were consistent in High-A, upper level pitching has highlighted the weakness.
Dalton Pompey: What’s Left To See?
Every prospect writer who travels to the park to scout players hopes for the opportunity at multiple looks. Sometimes, it’s just not possible. So while a first impression of the Blue Jays prospect is valuable, the look is not complete. If additional views were possible, a full batting practice session would have allowed for a look at Pompey’s natural pop from both sides of the plate. Additional plate appearances may have also provided an accurate home-to-first run time to gauge speed and help build the defensive profile. Speaking of defense, a true test of his ability to cover the gaps is welcomes as well.
Dalton Pompey left a strong first impression and the good times are expected to continue. Consider the Blue Jays outfield prospect one of the better athletes in minor league baseball with the skills to move quickly to Toronto. Once upon a time, Anthony Gose was expected to be the heir apparent in center field to Colby Rasmus. Now, it appears as if Pompey has passed him on the organizational depth chart.
27 Aug 2014 / Mike Newman /
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