After moves to bolster their outfield, the Toronto Blue Jays have created a situation that puts Dalton Pompey further from the big leagues.
The Toronto Blue Jays have gone about ensuring their outfield is better than it was last year. Part of that, as much as we hate to admit it, meant replacing icon Jose Bautista, who was a shell of his former self in 2017. Randal Grichuk accomplishes this. But, that wasn’t all the club did. They added Curtis Granderson to the mix as well.
These two, along with Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera, Teoscar Hernandez and Steve Pearce created a fairly large logjam in the outfield. By DFA-ing Zeke and eventually releasing him (!), they removed one name from the equation. But, there is still quite a mixture remaining.
Pearce has been all but relegated to outfield duty thanks to the emergence of Justin Smoak in 2017. While we’ll gladly take the break out performance from Smoak, it means that we have to deal with Pearce in left field. That said, with options available, Toronto can platoon Pearce and Granderson. So, there seems to be a solution for now.
But, looking further down the depth charts, we see an even more crowded situation. A while back, I wrote that the AAA Buffalo Bisons will have a very exciting outfield. And, they will, but it also looks very crowded. Hernandez will likely not make the big league club, so he’ll play right field for the Bisons. But, they’ll also have Roemon Fields, Dwight Smith Jr, Ian Parmley, Harold Ramirez and the prospect that many feel is making a push for a big league job: Anthony Alford.
So, the question becomes what about Dalton Pompey?
You have to feel bad for the now 25 year old. Just when he seems to get on a roll, like he did in the World Baseball Classic last spring, he gets hurt. Then it was a concussion and when he was able to get into game action, he hurt his knee. It is the story of Pompey’s young career. It would be easy to label him an ‘injury prone’ player, but the types of injuries he’s had don’t exactly scream poor conditioning or anything. If anything, he’s just unlucky.
And, that is the crux of the issue. As recently as Sunday, Pompey was scratched from the lineup due to ‘wrist soreness’. There is a bit more to it, though:
Dalton Pompey tweaked right wrist on a slide in Lakeland last week, aggravated it on swing Sunday, went for MRI this morning, awaiting results. Swollen spot on back of right hand. #BlueJays
— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) March 12, 2018
See? The poor guy can’t even slide without getting hurt. The real problem is that he was previously healthy and ready to show this spring. He’s had 18 at bats so far and stolen two bases. More than his stat line, though, he needs to show he is back in full health.
One gets the sense that there are questions around Pompey contributing at the big league level. After all, he did get his shot to start the 2015 season, but struggled. I would argue that even that is unfair. Pompey was rushed before he was ready and he was greatly impacted by the mistake the front office made. It took him a while to rebound. That is not to say that he will be a productive major league player, rather I’m saying he has never really had a legitimate chance to prove whether he can.
With so many outfield options around Pompey, one has to start wondering where he will end up to start the season, half way through and to end 2018. The immediate answer is AAA, but there is such a crowd there, it would create some ripple effects. Most likely, though, that is where he’ll start. He’s not listed on the Bisons roster, though where we are in the spring, so that doesn’t mean a whole lot.
Dalton Pompey seems to always be the victim of situations beyond his control. He gets called up too soon, it taints his value. He gets hurt, recovers and is ready to play and he gets hurt again. The organization continues to move on (as they should) adding pieces and seeing young guys step up. Unfortunately, all of this means that Pompey’s future is in question.
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