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2018 MLB Draft Profile: Tristan Pompey

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The switch-hitting outfielder with some speed and pop should come off the board on the first day of the MLB draft

Pomp Bomp: The speedy switch-hitter is in the conversation for the 46th overall pick.
University of Kentucky Baseball Twitter

Who is Tristan Pompey?

He was drafted in the 31st round coming out of high school and became a starter at the University of Kentucky right away. In his first season, he slashed .233/.328/.440 with seven homers and 48 strikeouts in 49 games. The next season was his breakout year: He slashed .361/.464/.541, with 10 home runs and 56 strikeouts in 66 games. In what looks to be his final year at Kentucky, he slashed .335/.448/.557 with seven homers and 47 strikeouts in 50 games. A switch hitter with college numbers like this should indicate a first round consensus draft pick, even with questionable defense (Pompey has had only had one assist from the outfield in his career.) During the Cape Cod League, Pompey was unimpressive with a wooden bat, with MLB Pipeline questioning his effort.

How does Pompey rank?

He does not make any of the first round mock drafts that are out so far.

On MLB Pipeline, he is ranked 52nd.

What is Pompey’s game?

Pompey has the potential to be a leadoff or No. 2 hitter. In 165 games, he walked 99 times and only struck out 151. A great contact hitter, MLB Pipeline grades his hit tool at 55. His career slugging percentage at UK is .521, with 24 homers and 46 doubles, which translates to 50 grade power. His defense is lacking; his arm didn’t show at school, and scouts are not enamored with it. In the preseason ranks, FanGraphs said Pompey had a chance to be a center fielder, but he would need to improve his arm (graded at a 45).

What does Pompey look like?

Why would the White Sox draft him?

Switch hitters a rarity in baseball, and one with the bat that Pompey has is even more rare. He has a plus bat, plus speed and some power. He has hit mid-.330s in two seasons in the SEC, which is an accomplishment by itself. The lack of performance with a wooden bat should not mean much, considering the Cape Cod League is only a summer’s worth of games. He has the hit tools of a first rounder and should be able to field well enough in left field given the proper training.

Why wouldn’t the White Sox draft him?

MLB Pipeline calling out Pompey’s lack of effort in the Cape Cod League is significant. A simple observation like that could indicate that if Pompey struggles in the minors, he will not attempt to better his game and be responsive to different hitting and fielding approaches. Also, with a weaker arm, he is limited in the outfield; he is tall enough to make a move to first base, but that would be a last resort.