Toronto Blue Jays 2016 Triple-A Outfielders

The Toronto Blue Jays’ AAA club, the Buffalo Bisons, have the potential to field a very exciting outfield in 2016. 

The 2015 edition of the Buffalo Bisons outfield consisted of top prospect Dalton Pompey and a handful of MiLB vets like Melky Mesa, Ezequiel Carrera, Alex Hassan, Caleb Gindl, Brad Glenn, Chris Dickerson, and Chris Heisey.

Caleb Gindl made the most appearances for the Herd with 85 GP, but battled hamstring issues all season which caused him to visit the 7-day DL in May and August. Caleb remains a free-agent, which means there is a chance he could make a return to Buffalo in 2016.

At the time this article was written, Melky Mesa was listed as the only OF on the Buffalo Bisons roster. With the Toronto Blue Jays having a surplus of OF options on the 25-man roster, a trickle down effect is inevitable before the end of Spring Training.

If all outfielders on the current roster remain healthy come Opening Day, the Toronto Blue Jays OF is expected to stack up with RF Jose Bautista, CF Kevin Pillar, LF Ben Revere, and Michael Saunders occupying the role of 4th OF. This leaves Pompey, Carrera, and off-season pick up Junior Lake heading down the QEW to roam the outfields of Coca-Cola Field.

Here is a look at what each player accomplished in 2015.

Dalton Pompey

The 23-yr-old will need to really impress in the spring if he hopes to remain on the Toronto Blue Jays 25-man roster, but do you want Pompey on the bench or at Triple-A receiving regular at-bats? I choose the latter. Pompey struggled to start the 2015 season after winning the start CF job out of Spring Training; ultimately, getting demoted to Buffalo at the beginning of May.

The demotion didn’t go well, as Pompey’s struggles continued through May and into June, before getting sent to Double-A New Hampshire. Dalton turned his season around with the Fisher Cats, hitting .351 with 6 home runs in 31 games.

In mid-July, Pompey returned to Buffalo with confidence and a hitting bat. On July 17th, the Mississauga native was hitting .211 and by the end of the month he was hitting .273. By the end of the year, the talented OF raised his Triple-A average to .285.

Overall, Pompey produced above league average with wOBA of .428 and .340 at Double-A and Triple-A. His inability to hit for power (.071 ISO) with the Herd was concerning.

Prognosis for 2016

Pompey will start the year in Buffalo, holding down the leadoff spot, and will rediscover his power stroke. First player to be called up in case of injury.

Melky Mesa

Mesa turns 29 on January 31st and will return to Buffalo to provide Manager Gary Allenson with 10 years of MiLB experience. Melky struck out 139 times between New Hampshire and Buffalo, while walking 39 times. Mesa made an appearance on the 2015 Top 10 ISO in the Blue Jays farm system, coming in at number 9.

Overall, Melky Mesa hit .250 with 8 home runs, .143 ISO, while providing the organization with solid 121 wRC+ and 74 wRC+.

Prognosis for 2016

Melky will bounce between Double-A and Triple-A

Junior Lake

An undrafted free agent in 2007, Lake spent several years on the Chicago Cubs Top Prospect Lists from 2008 to 2012 ranking as high as 8th in 2011. The 25-yr-old has over 700 MiLB and 200 MLB games over 9 season on his resume. Junior split 2015 playing for the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles and their Triple-A affiliates.

The native of San Pedro de Macoris, DR, hit .312 with 7 home runs with 13 doubles, and impressive .380 wOBA in 73 games at Triple-A.

Prognosis for 2016

It’s unlikely Lake will accept a Triple-A assignment to Buffalo, so don’t expect to see him in Buffalo. If he does accept a demotion, Lake will be a nice addition to the Bisons OF rotation giving Allenson average power at the top of the line up and a versatile OF who can play all 3 OF positions.

Ezequiel Carrera

In 2015, Carrera played 91 games in Toronto and 30 games in Buffalo. Carrera really stepped up for the Toronto Blue Jays with Michael Suanders on the DL and Dalton Pompey struggling to get his season on track. Carrera held his own in Toronto hitting .273 with 3 home runs, but showed defensive deficiencies (-2.9 UZR and -10.1 UZR/150) when used everyday.

In his brief stints with Buffalo, in April and August, Ezequiel’s stats looked a lot like his MLB stats with a batting average of .276 and one home run while posting .328 wOBA and .069 ISO.

Prognosis for 2016

With the major league depth in the Blue Jays outfield it is unlikely that Carrera will spend much time in Toronto.

Overall

There isn’t much power in this outfield quartet, but each possess excellent speed, versatility, and experience. Pompey is the gem and the most likely to make an impact in Toronto in 2016. Look for Ross Atkins to add another veteran outfielder before the season starts.

Possible call-ups

Bisons fans can expect an appearance from Blue Jays Top Prospects Anthony AlfordRoemon Fields, and Dwight Smith Jr. at some point in 2016.

Recent Buffalo Bisons articles: 2016 Triple-A Infielders

*Featured Image: Credit: Tom Hagerty.

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Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.