DUNEDIN, Fla. – After spending the off-season training at the York University track and the Athlete’s Zone facility in Toronto, the 21-year-old Mississauga native and Blue Jays prospect is ready to continue developing his game in Florida, where he will likely start the season with the Florida State League Dunedin Blue Jays.
It’s another step in the journey that Pompey hopes will see him in a big-league jersey in the next few years.
“When I go to sleep at night I think about being in a Blue Jays uniform, and actually having my dream come true,” the outfielder said after a spring training workout at the Bobby Mattick Training Center.
“Not just playing in the majors, but also for the team that I grew up watching. I feel like that’s any one of these guys’ dreams.”
Pompey grew up immersed in Toronto sports – the Jays, the Raptors; even hockey once in a while – and would attend live games whenever he could. But even when he watched the Blue Jays play at Rogers Centre (then the SkyDome), he never expected to one day be in a position to play there himself.
“I would go to games and never even thought in my wildest dreams I’d have a chance to be there,” said Pompey.
“I’ve got my close-knit friends who try to come out and see me play as often as they can…they are excited, they’re excited for me to get there and represent the hometown.”
His journey truly started in 2010, when Pompey was drafted in the 16th round by the his favourite team as a 17-year-old.
“It was pretty cool, during the draft I was just excited to even be selected by a team,” he recalls.
“I heard my name and it was the Blue Jays and it kind of all sunk in that this is the hometown team, the team I grew up watching, and now I had a chance to legitimately play for them. It was definitely exciting for me.”
One of the most exciting aspects of Pompey’s game is his blistering speed, both in centre field and on the base paths. He swiped 38 bags in an injury-shortened season last year and looks to build on that total this coming season.
“I just try to get on base so I can use my speed, it’s a really big part of my game right now,” said Pompey.
“In the off-season I take running track really seriously, and I take my running here very seriously, because that’s going to help me get to the big leagues, and that’s where I want to be.”
Pompey’s power numbers showed dramatic improvement last year after he returned from a broken toe, and he batted .280 with 10 doubles, six home runs and 20 RBI over the second half of the season.
But while the numbers are trending in the right direction, Pompey is careful not to look too much into them just yet.
“I try not to be too result-orientated,” he said. “I’m more about the process now than maybe a couple years ago where I was more into the results.”
Pompey has fellow Canadian and major leaguer Brett Lawrie to look up to and get advice from as someone who followed a similar path with the junior national team and through Toronto’s farm system.
“I talk to Brett on Twitter and in person and he’s a good guy,” the young outfielder said. “I see the response he gets from people in Toronto and it’s awesome, and he’s not even from Toronto – he’s from BC. The fans really love him and to experience that would be awesome, it’s what I dream about.”