Kentucky’s Tristan Pompey (6) scores against North Carolina State catcher Andy Cosgrove during the first inning of an NCAA college baseball tournament regional game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, June 3, 2017. It didn’t take long for a second Canadian to be selected in the MLB draft. Near the start of Day 2 of the draft, the Miami Marlins selected Tristan Pompey in the third round (89th overall). THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Alex Slitz, Lexington Herald-Leader

Canadian outfielder Tristan Pompey ‘pumped’ to join Marlins organization

Six years ago, Tristan Pompey tweeted that Marlins Park was a stadium on his must-see list.

He might be able to check that one off soon enough.

The 21-year-old outfielder from Mississauga, Ont., was drafted by the Marlins on Tuesday in the third round of the MLB draft. And while Pompey doesn’t remember what prompted that tweet from his 15-year-old self in the first place, it made him chuckle as he retweeted it hours after he was drafted.

“That was six years ago, I honestly have no clue why I wrote it,” Pompey said with a laugh in a phone interview with The Canadian Press. “Someone had brought it up from my archives and I thought, ‘that’s funny.’ It’s funny to think about that now.”

Pompey was the second Canadian chosen in this year’s draft after 18-year-old catcher Noah Naylor, also from Mississauga, went in the first round (29th overall) to the Cleveland Indians Monday night.

Nineteen Canadians were chosen over the three-day draft period, including two Wednesday to the Toronto Blue Jays — right-handed pitcher Will McAffer of North Vancouver, B.C., in the 25th round and third baseman Damiano Palmegiani of Surrey, B.C., in the 35th round.

Ranked 51st on MLB Pipeline’s Top 200 list heading into the draft, Pompey had expected to hear his name on Day 1, which unveils the first and second rounds of the 40-round selection process. He was picked 89th overall.

“That was the original plan, to go (Monday), that’s what I had heard from teams about where I was supposed to go,” Pompey said. “But at the end of the day it’s the draft and stuff happens and I’m just happy someone gave me the opportunity. It doesn’t matter if it was Round 1 or Round whatever.

“I’m so excited about the opportunity and it’s what you do after the draft that really matters.”

This was Pompey’s second time going through the MLB draft. He was also chosen in the 31st round by the Minnesota Twins out of high school in 2015 but elected to play college ball at the University of Kentucky instead of signing a pro contract.

The six-foot-four switch hitter batted .361 as a sophomore in 2017, leading the Wildcats in on-base percentage (.464). He topped Kentucky’s roster again this season in OBP (.448 OBP) and stolen bases (10), and batted .335 over 50 games.

Pompey was home with his parents and older brother Dalton — a Toronto Blue Jays outfielder who tore a ligament in his thumb during a triple-A game earlier this week — when he got the Tuesday afternoon phone call from the Marlins.

“I wasn’t paying much attention, just waiting for the call, and then I got it and I was pumped,” Pompey said. “I was just excited that they believed in me and wanted to pick me. When I got the call that I was going to Miami, my focus changed to what’s Miami like, that’s all I’ve been thinking about.”

As for having his brother there eight years after watching Dalton go to the Blue Jays in the 16th round, the younger Pompey said that was special, too.

“It was pretty unique because I was there when he got drafted and he was there when I got drafted so it’s a pretty cool experience,” he said. “It only happens once in your life — well, sometimes twice if you’re lucky — but from here on out it’s all about moving forward.”

Pompey said he’s intrigued by the rebuilding Marlins and their farm system, which Baseball America ranked 19th in the majors at the beginning of the year, its highest score since 2013 when it was fifth.

Miami was listed as 29th (second-last in MLB) in both 2016 and 2017.

“Looking into the organization, it’s a good fit for me and an opportunity for me to work my way up through the minor league ranks fast,” Pompey said. “It’s good that they’re developing their players and bringing them up. If I perform I can shoot through the farm system fairly quickly and hopefully make the big league club in the next few years.”

Pompey is also excited by the Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, the longtime Yankees all-star who once gave Pompey an autograph during a game in Toronto years ago.

“I was a big fan when I was a little kid, I used to wear No. 2 for him and everything,” Pompey said.

“It’s pretty cool to be on his team. I feel like if you’re on Jeter’s team you’re in good hands.”

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