* Even the Blue Jays are scouting their own prospect OF Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.), like a lot of other major league teams offering trading chips as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was in Dunedin Monday watching his class-A affiliate.
“There’s one reason and one reason only he’s watching Dunedin,” said one evaluator. “Dalton Pompey. He might be the best player in the league. Look at the year he’s having with the bat and he’s probably the best outfielder in the league.
“It’s a good idea to bear down on your own guys -- and they have had a ton of their own scouts in there. You made fewer mistake when you scout your own team.”
Mississauga’s Pompey, an Oakville Royals grad, is eighth in hitting at .312, leads the league in stolen bases with 27 and is fourth in OPS at .852.
As the clock ticks towards the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline a number of teams who may make pitching available have had sent their scouts to Dunedin to evaluate the Jays prospects.
Taylor Cole pitched Monday morning in a loss to Brevard County allowing four earned runs on eight hits and three walks. Ben White pitched Sunday afternoon -- three runs on eight hits -- in a loss to Brevard.
Drawing the attention of other teams besides Pompey others drawing interest from other scouts are outfielder Dwight Smith (.266 average, five homers, 28 RBIs in 69 games, .733 OPS), third baseman Gustavo Pierre (.251, four homers, 25 RBIs, .640 OPS) and 6-foot-5 shortstop Emilio Guerrero (.297, six homers, 29 RBIs in 59 games, .682 OPS). Matt Boyd is 5-1 with an 0.67 ERA after six starts at New Hampshire (0-2, 8.31) walking 11 and fanning 61 in 69 Dunedin innings. Cole is 5-4 with a 2.86 ERA, with 21 walks and 103 strikeouts in 88 innings. White is 3-4 with a 5.01 ERA with 17 walks and 38 whiffs in 70 innings.
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The Blue Jays have responded by adding outfielder Cory Aldridge, 35, for depth at double-A New Hampshire.
Toronto purchased his contract from the Sultanes de Monterrey where Aldridge had video game number this season, his second in the Mexican League.
Aldridge is hitting .345 with 11 doubles, 19 homers and 67 RBIs with an 1.122 OPS in 67 games this summer. A fourth round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 1997, Aldridge appeared in eight games with the 2001 Braves and five with the 2010 Los Angeles Angels. With the promotion of outfielders Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar, Aldridge could be headed to Buffalo soon.
Buff replacements: That utility infielder (Brett Lawrie, two games at third, one at second depending upon whether a lefty was on the mound meaning Juan Francisco played third) and the Jays best player (Jose Bautista, who leads in OPS and has the highest on-base mark in the AL) were out of the lineup on Monday. Lawrie is on the disabled list for the next 3-to-6 weeks with a busted right index finger after being hit with a Johnny Cueto pitch on Sunday. And one inning later Bautista pulled a right hamstring extending for step on first base.
Anthony Gose was in right and Francisco was at third. Besides Gose outfielder Kevin Pillar was recalled from Buffalo and catcher Erik Kratz was demoted.
“We may have dodged a bullet with Bautista,” said manager John Gibbons as the right fielder was encouraged by Grade 1 strain diagnosis after his MRI exam. “Hopefully just a couple of days. We’ll see.”
Bautista said that there was a “really good chance he can avoid” the disabled list.
“There’s a chance I could pinch-hit here or there, that’s a possibility,” Bautista told reporters.
Gibbons said that the Jays will platoon Gose and Pillar in right, while fan fave Munenori Kawasaki and Steve Tolleson will share second. Tolleson could spell Franciso at third.
“It’s as good as it can be, given what happened, it’s sore,” Bautista said. “We’ll see how it starts feeling the next couple days.”
Cub watching: Jays director of pro scouting Perry Minisian was at Wrigley Field Monday night to watch Jeff Samardzija face the Cincinnati Reds. Samardzija worked six innings allowing one run on four hits and two walks as he fanned seven in his 107-pitch outing. He has now walked 31 and struck out 97 in 103 innings. He’s 2-6 with a 2.53 ERA.
Still unsigned: The Jays have yet to sign either of their two first-round picks from the June draft: right-hander Jeff Hoffman, drafted ninth over-all from East Carolina despite requiring Tommy John surgery in mid-May and catcher Max Pentecost of Kennesaw State, selected 11th. One scout’s review:
“Pentecost is going to be a very solid every day catcher. Maybe a little bit better than Pat Borders. He might play 10-to-12 years in the big leagues, even make an all-star game. We thought he’d sign easy, I’m surprised he has not.
“Hoffman is unbridled, like Andrew Cashner with San Diego. He’s a great projection pick. He has monster stuff ... stuff wise he’s among the first five arms in the draft. Having a feel for pitching? He’s probably 15th-to-20th. He could be a front liner, but he’s so raw. He’s from upstate New York (near Albany). He either hasn’t been taught some things or he doesn’t get it.”
Capt. Home Run: Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki have been named the captains of the American and National League for the Home Run derby July 14 at Target Field in Minneapolis. Bautista is a two-time major league home run champion. “Even if players have participated in the past, it all depends if they are willing to do so again,” said Capt. Bautista, who had an American jersey by his locker with a large C crest on the chest.
Melk Man, Streak Man: Cabrera extended hit consecutive-game hitting streak against the Yanks to 20 games with a first-inning double. The last player to have a run against the Yanks was Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera (2006-2010). Melky is hitting .349 (29-for-83) with seven doubles, a triple and six homers. Teammate Jose Reyes, Seattle’s Robinson Cano and San Francisco Giants Jeff Keppinger have the next longest active streaks: 18 games. Reyes against the Tigers, Cano facing the A’s and Keppinger against the Brewers.