DINGERS FROM THE 6IX
Losing Dexter Fowler really hurt. Not because I am the biggest Fowler fan in the world (in fact I am the opposite), but because losing him means the Blue Jays options for corner outfielders and decreasing immensely. The likelihood of the Jays acquiring two dependable major league outfielders is now slim, and the Jays will have to find alternative options as a result. Among options, is Dalton Pompey, a 23 year old outfielder in the Jays system, who projects to be the Jays best outfielder currently on the roster not named Kevin Pillar. Considering his competition is Melvin Upton Jr., and Ezequiel Carrera, it should be obvious that Pompey has the most upside among everyone in that group, however some people believe that starting Upton, or Carrera, or using them in a platoon is the Jays best option. They would be wrong.
If we consider the projections from ZiPS, we can see that Dalton Pompey projects to record 1.0 WAR/600 PA. This exceeds that of both Carrera, who projects to record 0.8 WAR/600 PA, and Upton, who manages a meager 0.6 WAR/600 PA. As you can see, Pompey already projects to be the best of the group as it is, and that is before we even consider the potential upside if he does reach the lofty expectations that he has as a Top 100 prospect. Continuing with projections, Steamer projects Upton to record 0.4 WAR/600 PA and Carrera with an even worse 0.0 WAR/600 PA. Pompey manages to top this pair easily, with a projected WAR of 1.5/600 PA. This should be enough to prove that Dalton Pompey is worthy of a starting role as it is, but for some reason many of you are still unconvinced, so let me persuade you further.
Of the three internal options on the Blue Jays roster, Pompey also has the highest upside. The best we can expect to see from Upton is maybe a 1 win player, and so is Carrera. But Pompey could be a 3 or 4 win player if he manages to unleash his potential and reach the status that he projected to reach as a prospect. In addition, I believe that Pompey will be the best hitter and the best defender, and I am supported by projections such as Steamer, which projects Pompey to record a WRC+ of 91 and has a career DRS of 5, while Carrera projects to record a WRC+ of 81 and a has career DRS of -5. Upton continues this trend with a projected WRC+ of 81 and a career DRS of -25. This shows me that Pompey projects as the best hitter, and also is the only one with the ability to consistently play above average defense.
But beyond the projections, Pompey should be a starting outfielder because he is simply the youngest of the three and has the highest potential reward if all three hit their ceilings. I know that Alex Anthopoulos was too high on the young outfielder and probably rushed him to the majors. I know that Pompey has not yet demonstrated an ability to consistently hit at the major league level. I know he has not shown he can stay healthy in recent seasons and yet, I think Pompey should be a starting outfielder unless the team can acquire two deserving players. Pompey has the reputation as a top prospect, and should at least be given the chance to perform at the big league level in 2017. It's not about the numbers with Pompey. It's about giving a young player with serious potential upside a chance to show his skills instead of giving a spot to mediocre veterans like Melvin Upton Jr or Ezequiel Carrera. It's about finding out if the club has a talented piece it can build around. Who cares if he doesn't pan out? Players fail every year. It's part of the game. If he does fail than you go back to Upton and Carrera, and you lost maybe half a game but if he hits, than this team has a major league outfielder and they didn't lose anything to get him.
As you can see, I believe that Dalton Pompey is deserving of a full-time outfield role unless the Jays bring in two major league quality outfielders. I am supported by projections, career defensive numbers, and potential ability to play at a given level, which is why I support the movement to #FreePompey, and give him a starting outfield job in 2017.