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Fantasy Baseball Prospects – Dalton Pompey May Be Ready For Everyday Duties

After being drafted in the 16th round by the Toronto Blue Jays, Dalton Pompey should be on every owner’s fantasy baseball radar.

Dalton Pompey
Dalton Pompey

World outfielder Dalton Pompey hits a single in the 6th inning during the All Star Futures Game at Target Field. Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Every once in a while, a player slips through the draft. It’s not often – MLB scouts tend to be pretty good at their job, for the most part – but every once in a while, a player turns into something no one expected him to be:

Of course, perhaps the most famous of them all is Mike Piazza. Perhaps the greatest hitting catcher of all time was drafted as a favor to Piazza’s dad. I’m not foolish enough to say that Toronto Blue Jays prospect Dalton Pompey (pronounced like the city that was buried under lava) will be anywhere close to what Piazza or Pujols has achieved, but it’s necessary for fantasy players to understand that linear weights shouldn’t be given to players once a draft has completed. After the draft, the best measure of their talent is what they actually do on a field, not what a scout thought of them four years ago.

Background

The switch-hitting Dalton Pompey was drafted in the 16th round of the 2010 draft out of high school. As a Canadian kid, Pompey being drafted by the Blue Jays put him on the radar of fans and the media almost immediately. Since that point, it’s been nothing but improvement for the youngster.

Pompey’s first full season in the minors came in 2011, all of his time spent at rookie ball. It wasn’t a fantastic season for Pompey overall, but there were two key numbers (270 PAs):

.239 BA, 358 OBP, .367 SLG; 5 HR, 23 SB

In those 270 plate appearances, Pompey had 38 walks and just 58 strikeouts. He was considerably better as a left-handed hitter against right-handed pitching, but his sample from the other side was only 60 plate appearances so not much to go on.

The following year, Pompey was forced to miss most of the season with a broken hand. Our next sample of data, then, that is usable would come in the 2013 campaign. Pompey spent the entire year at A-ball in Lansing, totalling 511 plate appearances. Here’s how he did, and the two key numbers again:

.261 BA, .358 OBP, .394 SLG; 6 HR, 38 SB

Again, in 2013, Pompey showed he was more than capable of taking a walk and stealing a base. He still didn’t strike out very much, relatively speaking, with 63 walks and 106 strikeouts. So far, in the two samples that were somewhat reliable, Pompey had amassed 101 walks to 164 strikeouts, a very good ratio for any young prospect.

This year was the real breakthrough for Pompey, though. After starting the season in High-A (317 PAs), Pompey moved to Double-A (127 PAs), and finished the minor league season at Triple-A (56 PAs). Though his walk rate would decline a bit overall, the batting average finally took a step forward, so his on-base percentage was stellar by the end of the campaign:

.317 BA, .392 OBP, .469 SLG; 9 HR, 43 SB

Over the course of the season, Pompey was able to manage 52 walks to just 84 strikeouts. While his walk rate took a hit – it dropped from 12.3-percent in 2013 to about 10-percent in 2014 – he cut down on the strikeouts as well. Being able to walk as much as he does, and adding more contact to his game, it’s a good sign for his stolen base totals.

While the power isn’t dreamy – he has 22 home runs in 1414 career minor league plate appearances – the stolen bases are – he has 113 in those plate appearances. The home runs would be nice because there is a decline in power overall in baseball – about 14-percent over the last two years – there’s an equal amount of speed gone, with again about 14-percent fewer stolen bases. Guys who can steal, and get on base at a good rate to support those steals, are becoming fewer and further between.

It’s worth noting, too, that Baseball America had Pompey as their #47 prospect in the midseason, ahead of names like Maikel Franco and Jorge Soler.

Fantasy Outlook

Pompey was added to the Jays as a September call-up. It’s important for those in H2H leagues to keep him in mind, because he’ll be used as a pinch-runner. He has twice already in the team’s first four games this month. If they need a run, he’ll be coming off the bench to steal a base. Sometimes, hail mary plays are needed to win H2H weeks, and plugging a guy like Pompey in your utility could net you a steal if you have no better options.

More so, Pompey is a name to keep in mind for next year. It’s a possibility that the Jays let both Colby Rasmus and Melky Cabrera walk in free agency this year. Even if it’s just Rasmus, there’s a good chance that Pompey is the everyday centre fielder next year. If he can maintain a decent on-base percentage, with his speed, the Jays might have their next lead-off hitter. In that lineup, that’s a very valuable place to be.

Just don’t remind yourself that he was a 16th round pick four years ago.

*As always, thanks to Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, and The Baseball Cube for their resources

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