JAYS FROM THE COUCH LOOKS AT DALTON POMPEY’S MOST RECENT INJURY AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR HIS CHANCES TO MAKE THE BLUE JAYS ROSTER
In the late innings of Saturday afternoon’s World Baseball Classic game between Canada and Columbia, Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey hit his head sliding into second base in a stolen base attempt. Pompey was visible shaken up on the play, but did stay on base for the remainder of the inning, before being lifted as a defensive replacement by Rene Tosoni.
— ⚠️Guy On The Couch⚠️ (@6SportsGod1) March 11, 2017
Canada would end up losing the game 4-1, with Pompey exiting the game going 0-3 at the plate. Pompey would also be out of Canada’s lineup for Sundays 8-0 loss to the US Team.
Pompey has had a rough go with injuries, including a history of concussions. Last season with the Buffalo Bisons, he was diagnosed with a concussion after colliding with the LF wall while making a catch. He would stay in the game for the final outs, but felt dizziness later that night and was diagnosed with a concussion. This was one of many unlucky injuries for him during the 2015 season, he entered the season on the disabled list with Turf Toe, missed a few games with a bone bruise in his heel, and then sprained his knee. A lot of these injuries are freak, one time things, and when you play with the intensity and speed Pompey does, you’re most likely going to get a few more bumps and bruises along the way.
Looking at his future, this probably won’t keep him off the Blue Jays roster come Opening Day, but this might hurt his chances of making the roster all together. Pompey has seen only 9 at bats during this Spring Training batting .222/.364/.556, with two doubles, one home run, and four runs batted in. During the 2016 season, he spent the season with AAA Buffalo, but got the September call up spending a majority of his time on the bench and in pinch running situations, only getting 2 at bats unable to register a hit in both.
Despite on his time spent on the DL, he did put up some pretty good numbers playing in Buffalo. In his 93 games he would slash .270/.349/.353, stealing an amazing 18 bases in 25 attempts, without much power he hit only 4 home runs, but as mentioned during some of the WBC broadcast Pompey made it an offseason goal to put on more muscle to gain a bit more power at the plate.
With previous call ups including starting the 2015 on the Open Day roster, some fans were wondering with the injuries to Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista why Pompey never got the call up over players like Ezequiel Carrera, some fans going as far as creating a #FreePompey campaign on Twitter. There is no doubt in the short time he’s seen in the majors, Pompey has struggled to get on base, and a full season putting up consistent on base numbers at the AAA level bode well for his development.
The Jays organization made it clear last season, they aren’t going to rush his progress into a full time MLB role until he is ready to handle that. Recently in interviews, manager John Gibbons has mentioned that the plan for left field is to platoon both Melvin Upton Jr. and Ezequiel Carrera.
This Pompey injury makes it really tough for him to make the Opening Day roster. Although the outfield might be a weak point for the Jays, they do have players filled in at each position. Pompey will have to continue to play well enough in Spring Training to leap frog Carrera on the depth chart (Carrera has put up good numbers so far in Spring Training). This injury is a definite setback for Pompey, his defensive skills, and speed on the base paths are skills that the Blue Jays lineup could definitely see more of in their lineup.
While Pompey’s skills/youth would be nice to have, I would be very happy to see Upton get a more permanent role in LF. In that same article posted above, Upton blames a lot of his strikeouts and inconsistency in Toronto to a lack of playing time. With his time with the Padres last season, he slashed .256/.304/.439, hit 16 home runs, still had a very ugly 28.3% strikeout percentage, but he was still effective in the field, and kept opposing pitchers uncomfortable when on the base paths stealing 20 bases in 25 attempts. Those numbers plummeted drastically when he joined the Blue Jays, hitting .191/.254/.309, and a head scratching 30.8% strikeout percent. There’s no doubt that the effects of being traded and getting inconsistent playing time played into Upton’s poor play, it would be nice to see how he bounces back starting off the season with a team he’s comfortable with.
Hopefully Pompey won’t be sidelined for too long this Spring. As of right now, we don’t know the severity of the concussion. There are 10 concussion symptoms in the MLB’s concussion protocol, whether he tests for 9 symptoms or 2 of them, he will need to be tested positively against his baseline before a Return to Play form is filled out, and approved by the MLB’s medical staff. With quite a bit of time still left in Spring Training, let’s hope Pompey is back on the field soon so he can have a fair shot at the LF position.
*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Tom Hagerty. UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Spencer Redmond is a Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. His loves in life are the NBA, MLB, Stats, and his dog Parker.