For Pompey choosing Kentucky was right choice

Former Toronto  Mets OF Tristan Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) a projected fiirst rounder in  June. 

Former Toronto  Mets OF Tristan Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) a projected fiirst rounder in  June. 

Tristan Pompey Not Focusing on MLB Draft Quite Yet

By Cole Shelton
Canadian Baseball Network

Most Canadians around baseball know Dalton Pompey, the Toronto Blue Jays outfielder, however, Dalton’s younger brother, Tristan, is a key player to watch entering the 2018 draft.

Pompey was selected in the 31st round, in 2015 by the Minnesota Twins, but ultimately did not sign and decided to go play college ball at Kentucky. Now, three years later, everything has gone right for Pompey and it is expected he will go in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft. 

Pompey is Canadian, and most people in Canada generally look to play hockey, however, Pompey was not one of those people. Pompey decided to play ball growing up as a kid, something he doesn’t regret. 

“My dad put me and my brother kind of in every sport, and whichever ones we liked the best were the ones we played,” Pompey said in a recent phone interview. “Growing up I mainly played baseball and soccer, and I think I played because my brother chose to play also, and I followed in his footsteps.”

Following his brother’s footsteps, he did, as both Dalton and Tristan were one of the top players in their respective years. They saw Baseball Canada grow as well, as more and more kids starting playing. 

“It has grown a lot actually, to be honest with you,” Pompey said. “Baseball Canada has gotten a lot better over the years and people are really starting to take notice of Canadian ball and it will only go up from here. Similar to that people are playing it and the more people from Canada that are in the major leagues, the more it will grow.” 

Along with Baseball Canada teaching Tristan how to play, a key person helping him out was his older brother Dalton. Dalton, has already played with the Toronto Blue Jays and Tristan, throughout the years, has relied heavily on him to help him both on and off the field. 

“Well my brother never went to college, so he doesn’t have really anything to say about college,” Tristan said “So that was kind of what I wanted to do for myself, My brother has helped me a lot, with the mental preparation of everything, and kind of getting my mind in the right spot, and what I should be thinking about. He is there for me for whatever I need him for about baseball.”

With Dalton helping him, and Tristan dominating throughout high school, he was getting interest from both major-league scouts clubs and college recruiters as the 2015 draft drew closer. With several college teams showing interest in the young Canadian, Pompey decided on Kentucky, which wasn’t that hard of a decision for him. 

“I mean they are in the SEC, and it is like the best baseball conference in America for college, so really it was a no-brainer,” said Pompey on why he went to Kentucky. “You are seeing the best competition, and going to Kentucky, I thought it was close enough to home that my parents can come watch me. Then, at the same time, I’m getting the best college baseball experience that I could in college.”

With Pompey committed to Kentucky he was drafted in the 31st round by the Twins, but elected not to sign. 

“I just thought it was the best decision for me and for my career,” Tristan said. “Going to school in the SEC is the best baseball, the best college conference in America. My chances of growing and becoming a better player were much higher, than me signing out of high school. I thought I would grow as a player and as a person if I went to school, and honestly, it was an experience that really no one in my family has gotten a chance to do. Me going to college was a new experience for us, so I thought why not.” 

Not signing may have been the best decision for Pompey, as he has greatly improved his draft stock, and is likely he will be a top-25 pick in the upcoming draft. Through March 11, in his third season at Kentucky, Pompey is hitting .412, with two home runs and eight RBIs, along with a .500 OBP, and a 1.265 OPS. However, Pompey was injured early this season, but is still was one of the top college players. 

In his first year at Kentucky, Pompey hit .233 with seven home runs, and 29 RBIs, along with a .328 OBP, and a .768 OPS. 

After his first season at Kentucky, Pompey adjusted greatly to the college competition and made huge adjustments to have a standout year in his second season. Pompey, had a .361 batting average, with 10 home runs, and 45 RBIs, along with a .464 OBP, and a 1.005 OPS. Pompey has grown a lot at Kentucky, both as a baseball player and as a person, which will ultimately help him come draft day, and when he becomes a pro player. 

“Obviously out of high school I was like a 31st round pick so obviously it has helped me tremendously,” Pompey added of how Kentucky has helped him grow. “Being in the best conference in America it helped you realize where you are as a person and a player and are always learning from those around you. When you are matched up against the best competition you are bound to get better. I think it has really helped me grow as a person because you get to live on your own, and you become a lot more independent and mature. I have really gotten to know who I am as a person and as a player, while also learning and growing not just from myself and my coaches, but also my teammates as well.”

Now, entering his third season at Kentucky, Pompey, is mentioned often as a first-round draft pick, but he isn’t getting ahead of himself when it comes to the draft. Many players have high expectations of when they want to go, and to what team. But for Pompey, he has learned from his brother and his family, that whatever happens, happens. 

“I don’t really have any expectations,” said Pompey. “Just do what I do in the field now and hopefully, that will just take care of itself. I am not really worried about it. I am just worried about our team this year and trying to make it to Omaha and that is really my only goal this year.” 

Ultimately, the work Pompey has done on the field has shown enough to teams that he is worthy of a first-round selection. Pompey is now one of the top Canadian prospects and has the tools to make an impact at in the majors. All Pompey has to do now is work hard and success will follow him throughout the minors, and on his journey to the big leagues. 

But one thing is for sure, Pompey has not gotten cocky at all, and is very humble about the opportunity that is coming his way when the 2018 draft kicks off.