Sometimes the development of a prospect takes a lot longer than anticipated. This generally seems to occur more frequently with prospects that have loud raw tools, but not necessarily the finely tuned skills to let those tools play to their highest level. With Dalton Pompey, this has turned out to be the case, and the Blue Jays' $150K investment back in 2010 is looking really good about now.
The Jays drafted Pompey out of a Canadian high school in 2010, and was one of the youngest players in the draft that year. The organization moved him fairly slowly to start off his career, as he spent most of his first two full professional seasons in short-season ball, to middling results overall. He did get a brief move to full-season ball at the end of the 2012 season, and returned there for the 2013 season.
Pompey spent the 2013 season at Low-A Lansing, and posted a solid .261/.358/.394 line with six home runs, 38 stolen bases and an excellent 12% walk rate. He came out of the season ranked as the #17 prospect in the system by Baseball America, and was viewed as a potential major leaguer on the strength of his defensive profile, but skepticism about his ability to hit for a good average or power kept him outside the top 10 of many lists.
2014 marked another key step, and one that has vaulted Pompey into the stratosphere for prospect rankings. He started the season at High-A Dunedin, and after a 70-game stint where he dominated to the tune of a .319/.397/.471 slash line, was promoted to AA New Hampshire. 31 games there, and another 12 at AAA Buffalo, and Pompey finished his year with a call up to the major league squad.
For Pompey, it was anticipated after the season that he would return to AAA to start the 2015 campaign, given that he had appeared in just 62 games above the High-A level last year. However, the trade of Anthony Gose and the free agency of Colby Rasmus has opened up the starting center field job, and with that Pompey is expected to win that job right now.
The fantasy potential for Pompey is very interesting, as he has a number of tools that can provide above-average fantasy production. His carrying tool is his speed, which should be able to provide 30+ stolen bases on a regular basis, with the potential for more some years. He's not expected to provide a ton of home run power, but he's not a slap hitter by any stretch, and should be able to provide 8-10 home runs a year. The questions about his long-term value come from how well he can translate his athleticism at the plate into high batting averages, but the potential is there for a consistent batting average above .280 with an excellent on-base percentage to go with it.
Pompey is our #85 outfielder in our consensus rankings for the upcoming season, and while I do anticipate him struggling some as he adjusts to the majors, he remains an interesting flier in redraft leagues, as the potential is there for 5-10 home runs, 25+ stolen bases, and even with a .260 batting average would provide at least a solid third outfielder in nearly all formats. Long-term, he can be a top 40 outfielder if he develops in the expected manner, and should definitely be owned in all dynasty and keeper formats.