* CF Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) an Oakville Royals grad now at double-A New Hampshire had a pair of hits in the Futures Game. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in the Minors … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott MINNEAPOLIS _ Coach Jason Booth was asked what he recalled about Dalton Pompey’s draft year with the Oakville Royals.
“One night at Ireland Park in Burlington he made a running catch went into the fence and caught his foot in the bottom of the chain-link wire at the bottom,” Booth said. “We finally get him off the field and into the dugout and first thing he says is: ‘I’m not coming out.’
“This was two or three days before the draft and there were scouts there.”
Three or four days later Blue Jays Canadian scout Jamie Lehman chose the Royals outfielder in the 16th round and Sunday Pompey roamed a big-league stadium with the best in the minors.
And Target Field is a tad bigger than Ireland.
“The thing that impresses me the most is the size of this place,” said Pompey gazing around at the three decks in left with the giant Jumbotron above it, as Team USA edged the World Team 3-2 in the annual SirusXM Futures Game before what looked like a sold out crowd.
Before hitting lead off the Mississauga outfielder was asked about The Catch.
“I remember that, cut my neck and hurt my knee too,” said Pompey. “Think we were playing the Ontario Blue Jays.”
A total of 30 position players appeared in the game.
Only two had more than one hit: Rosell Herrera, a Colorado Rockies farmhand, and Pompey each had two singles for the World, while Team USA’s Joey Gallo earned MVP honors for a two-run homer to right. During batting practice, Gallo smashed the window of a new car on display beyond the right field fence.
Pompey played all nine innings facing three first rounders as he:
Lined out to left on a 3-2 pitch against Henry Owens, a Boston Red Sox first rounder in 2011 (12-3 with a 2.21 ERA at double-A Portland).
Struck out on a 2-2 pitch against Christian Binford (6-4, 2.55 with 94 strikeouts in 91 2/3 innings at class-A Wilmington and double-A Northwest Arkansas) in the third.
Singled against Washington Nationals first rounder Lucas Giolito (4-2, 2.47 at class-A Hagerstown) on a 3-1 pitch in the sixth.
And lined a single to right off Robert Stephenson (4-6, 3.97 at double-A Pensacola) a Cincinnati Reds first rounder on a 1-1 pitch in the eighth.
Pompey was having by most accounts an MVP season in class-A Florida State League with Dunedin, hitting .319 with six doubles, six triples and 34 RBIs in 70 games. He had an .868 OPS and 29 steals in 31 attempts when manager Omar Malave called him in after a game at Daytona Beach told him he was headed north and “to keeping doing what he’s doing.”
He returned to Dunedin and flew Tampa to Manchester to join Daniel Norris who had been promoted 10 days earlier.
The first 15 games at New Hampshire have been a period of adjustment as he’s hitting .154 with a .536 OPS.
“Pitchers have much more experience, some guys have either big-league or triple-A time,” said Pompey inside the World dugout. “In Florida, I could hit a hard ground ball through the infield or drop a bunt for a base hit.
“In Manchester the grass is higher, bunts don’t do as far. I have to learn to be more precise. And drive the ball to the outfield.”
Booth, who now coaches Team Ontario said from his new team’s tournament in Indianapolis, that the thing about Pompey always found a way to use his speed, “whether it was chasing down the ball in the gap or beat out an infield hit. He even ran to first base after walks.”
Mike Siena coached Pompey before he reached the 18s and was named to Greg Hamilton’s Canadian Junior National Team. Pompey’s swtch-hitting brother Tristan, as well as his parents Valerie and Ken Pompey were on hand for the festivities.
One scout of the 100s watching pre-game infield said “Pompey was having the year the Jays hoped either Michael Crouse or Marcus Knecht would have. Crouse of Port Moody B.C. a 16th round pick of the Jays in 2008 is Pompey teammate at New Hampshire, while Toronto’s Knecht, a third rounder in 2010, is at Dunedin.
The Jays third prospect in the Game, catcher A.J. Jimenez, named after three catchers were promoted to the majors, entered in the sixth and flew out to right in his only at-bat.