BY COLE SHELTON
Growing up in Mississauga, Tristan Pompey was always playing sports with his brother and former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey. While most Canadians pick up hockey sticks, the Pompeys were different and instead picked up a baseball.
“Well, I never really played hockey growing up. My dad put me and my brother in every sport, and whichever ones we liked the best were the ones we played,” said Pompey in a recent phone interview. “Growing up, I mainly played baseball and soccer, and I think I played baseball because my brother chose to play baseball also, and follow in his footsteps.”
When Pompey decided on baseball, he noticed he was immediately better than the rest and because of that, he started to play rep baseball in Oakville and Mississauga. While he was playing rep, he was still better, but he was still so young so it was more about having fun.
“They were good. Obviously playing rep ball you are playing with really talented players in the area. Playing for the Tigers and the Oakville A’s we get to play against the Brampton Royals and all those teams,” added Pompey. “They had some good players. Like some players are in the minors that came through those systems. It is a good experience to play on those teams. You meet some friends that last a lifetime. I am still friends with some of the guys I played on the Oakville A’s with, so it is a pretty cool experience, to kind of see where everyone is and just keep going in life.”
As he started to get better and better, Pompey started to get noticed by Team Canada’s Junior National team, but first, he had to showcase his talent against the top Canadian high school players in Canada at T12. The tournament was created by Blue Jays Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, with the help of the Blue Jays and the Blue Jays Academy.
“I just think about giving all the young guys opportunities. I think this is a great tournament for them and a tournament for them to show their skills and open eyes for the scouts,” Alomar said at this year’s T12.
The tournament ultimately did showcase Pompey’s skills as he had success at the tournament. He ended up getting picked for the Junior National team, a dream come true for Pompey.
“Making Team Canada was the biggest experience that I could have done in my young life before I went to college,” the Mississauga native from the Erin Mills area said. “It’s awesome. It’s awesome what Robbie Alomar is doing for the guys in Toronto and all of Canada really and it’s paying off for some guys big time.”
With the Junior National team, Pompey began to get noticed by MLB teams and college teams alike. Ultimately, he committed to the University of Kentucky to play baseball. However, after he graduated high school, Pompey was drafted in the 31st round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins. Now, the Kentucky commit had to pick between the MLB and college, where ultimately Pompey chose to go to college.
At Kentucky, Pompey was their starting left fielder during his three years with the Wildcats. Entering the 2018 draft, many expected the Canadian to be selected in the second round. However, Pompey fell out of the second round and was picked in the third round, 89th overall by the Miami Marlins, and with that, Pompey was set to start his professional career.
In the Marlins system, Pompey started in rookie ball, and after four games he got promoted to class-A. With the promotion, he needed to get off to a fast start which he did. In 24 games he slashed .314/.422/.430. Pompey showed the Marlins he could handle the next level, and he was promoted again to high-A, something unusual for a rookie.
Pompey ended up playing 24 games in high-A and ended his first year of pro ball there.
With the offseason just starting, the Marlins prospect has one goal in mind.
“My biggest thing is put on size and strength. I’m trying to put on some weight so that way I can kind of become a home run hitter guy. Also, I am trying to keep my speed somewhat,” the 21-year-old said. “They see me as being a power guy so that is what I am trying to do is get bigger and keep my swing the same because the doubles that I hit will turn into home runs.”
While size and strength is the ultimate goal, to achieve this, Pompey decided to spend all of September in Florida before returning back home to Mississauga to continue his offseason training. Something that many don’t do, as many young players spend the offseason in Florida or Arizona at team facilities, but Pompey is electing to do it at home in Mississauga.
“I have a trainer that I use and probably go five days a week around there. tournament get focused on those four months that I am home,” the Marlins draft pick added. “Really focused because I want to be in double-A next year, and there is a possibility that I could be in the major leagues next year if I really do bat well. It is not something that is completely out of the question.”
While he will be spending most of his time at home training, Pompey is still excited to come back home and be back with his family and friends after a long college and pro season.
“It will be nice, it will be really nice to be able to spend time with my family and friends,” Pompey said. “My brother is going to be in town so we get to hang out. Now that we are on the same schedule in the offseason it will be fun.”
While the offseason just started, Pompey is already looking forward to next season, and continue his success in the minor leagues.
“Just take it day by day. Just go in and expect the same things,” Pompey said. “As long as I give my best effort that is all I can control and I have no expectations of where I want to be or what I want to happen. As long as I am playing my best every day that is all I can control so that is all I can do.”