While playing for team Canada at the beginning of 2017, Dalton Pompey was looking so good that it appeared as if he was finally ready to make it back to the Blue Jays on a full-time basis.
If not for a most unfortunate and untimely concussion suffered at the World Baseball Classic, 2017 could very well have been the year Pompey proved to the Blue Jays he no longer belonged down in the minors. Not only did the injuries Pompey had to deal with this season setback his development, it also opened the door for several other outfield prospects to leap frog ahead of him on the Blue Jays depth chart.
At this point, with so many other players in contention for the corner outfield spots available in Toronto, Pompey will pretty much have to play out of his mind in order to even be considered for one of those positions next year. It looked as if 2017 was going to be the year for Pompey, and based on how he came out playing with Team Canada it was clear he knew all too well that last season may have been his best shot at a second chance of becoming a full-time member of the Blue Jays. There’s still time for Pompey to make his mark on this ball club, the only thing now is he’ll be competing with up-and-comers like Teoscar Hernandez and Anthony Alford, as well as regulars like Ezequiel Carrera and Steve Pearce.
As good as Pompey has been for the Blue Jays since being drafted in 2010, his greatest assets were always his speed, athleticism, and defense. Now with the emergence of Hernandez and Alford, Toronto has two more players who are just as strong as Pompey with respect to those skills, in addition to probably having a greater upside with the bat.
Spring Training 2018 should be a fantastic opportunity for several Toronto outfielders to stake their claim to the starting position in either left or right field. Not since 2015 when Jose Bautista was the only outfielder guaranteed of a starting spot has there been such a great opening for playing time in the Blue Jays outfield. Although Pompey still has a chance of making the squad out of spring training, it’s just that this time around there’s quite a few more players vying for those jobs.