Hello Kevin Pillar?


Literally the only image of Kevin Pillar in our subscription service’s archive.

I sat down just now with the intention of writing a post involving some prospect miscellany, as several interesting Jays-related prospect items have hit the web in the last week or so– none of which, if you must know, that I thought was particularly worthy of its own post, so I’ve been saving them up. One of the smaller ones had to do with Kevin Pillar, the outfielder at Buffalo who some had seen as having passed Anthony Gose on the depth chart this summer, especially after Alex Anthopoulos had name dropped him as a player in the system who would be ready to help the big club whenever he was next pressed into duty.

And that time looks increasingly like it’s going to be today.

This is all quite unofficial as yet, but– thanks to @StivBators– we can see a tweet from an account reportedly (and pretty legitimately-seeming) from Jays scout Steve Springer.

You can see Springer listed in the Jays’ front office directory, and when asked about the tweet, “Springer” confirmed that Pillar indeed would be in the big leagues tonight. Another tweet suggests that Bisons catcher Sean Ochinko had congratulated him on the promotion as well. So, I’m thinking…


The roster moves made to accommodate this still remain to be seen, though you’d have to figure that Colby Rasmus hitting the DL with his oblique issue would be the one that sparked this all. The Jays have nine relievers at this point– not counting Esmil Rogers, who returns to the rotation to fill in for Josh Johnson after a brief demotion– and so it shouldn’t be difficult for them to move someone like Mickey Storey, Thad Weber, or Brad Lincoln off the active roster to accomodate Pillar (with another reliever leaving when J.A. Happ returns from the bereavement list in a couple days). But Pillar isn’t on the club’s 40-man roster– Anthony Gose, however, is, which is why most would have figured on him getting the call– and that’s going to require an interesting move: either a release, or someone like Dustin McGowan (who still hasn’t started throwing after his recent placement on the DL, reportedly) or Melky Cabrera hitting the 60-day DL. Josh Johnson or Steve Delabar could also be moved to the 60-day as well, depending on what their outlooks are presently like.

Not great news if it’s any of those scenarios, but it’s not like it really matters at this point.

If all this is true, it’s an interesting slight to Gose, who reportedly returned to Buffalo from the big leagues earlier this year with a bad taste in his mouth, having felt he performed well enough to remain a big leaguer (and, therefore, unable to quite grasp the intricacies of roster management), and who has been the club’s next-in-line outfielder for a couple of years now. But Gose still hasn’t quite figured out the ol’ “hitting” thing, and Pillar has, by all accounts, been pretty terrific this year, so it’s not that surprising– especially given that it would hardly be difficult to keep Pillar around until the rosters expand in September, which would allow the club to avoid burning one of his option years.

It’s unfortunate that this seems to be a signal that Colby’s outstanding season has been somewhat derailed (unless you really care about the amount he’ll get in arbitration, for some reason), but I’m sure the club, at this point, is being extra cautious with everything, so perhaps it’s not cause for too much alarm. Also: an actual prospect to have a look at! Fourth-outfielder, Reed Johnson comparisons be damned! Pillar has, I’m pretty sure, played above expectations at every level, so maybe he’s got it in him to do it one more time, at the highest level.

Springer, for his part, is high on him, as this screen grab of an exchange sent to me by Jonah Birenbaum– aka @birenball– shows:


Meanwhile, last month an extensive report on Pillar at Baseball Prospectus concluded thusly:

Hit utility is very impressive; knack for getting the barrel to the ball; doesn’t have a ton of power but hits it hard enough to pick up some doubles and avoid the slap hitter tag; offensive profile will be batting-average driven but has natural feel for the craft to make it work; defensive ability is a little surprising with potential to handle center field in a pinch; ability to play center field helps the overall profile; arm and speed are average; speed can play up at times thanks to instincts; heady player; plays the game hard; manager’s dream in terms of effort; fourth outfield floor and could carve out a career as a solid second-division guy.

Hey, it’s something interesting to follow right now, at least, right?

FYI, I’ll get to that other prospect stuff later in the day. Unless I don’t.

Comments (84)

  1. Gose up in September no matter?

    • Who the fuck cares about Gose at this point. He’s in his repeat year at AAA and his numbers are shit. I dont doubt that he has better in him but Jays fans need to stop thinking this guy is going to be a franchise player.

      • Dumb.

        He doesn’t need to hit much to be very impactful.

        • Gose will be up. I don’t expect Bonifacio to get much playing time come September.

        • To be a franchise player he does. Would you rather have an outfield with Bautista, Rasmus and Gose or would you rather have the Jays go out and pursue a guy that can actually put up great offensive numbers in LF? Gose at this point would be a useful 4th outfielder / pinch runner Rajai Davis replacement which is exactly what he is going to be next season unless Pillar gets that job and the Jays do the right thing and sign someone proper for LF.

          Call me dumb all you like but my point was that Jays fans need to stop waiting for Gose to come in and save the day because he’s simply not and never will be a franchise player.

          • Nobody is waiting for that.

            It’s dumb to say “Who the fuck cares about Gose at this point” as though the fact that he’s not a future franchise player means has no worth at all. You’re commenting on a giant post about Kevin Pillar, for fuck sakes.

            I’m calling your comment dumb, not you, by the way. There’s a difference.

            • Dunno, Stoeten.
              Gose has gone from a 5 tool can’t miss to Rajai Davis 2.0.Pillar has passed him on the depth chart,he of 32nd round pick and a projection of fourth outfielder.
              Agreed that you don’t give up on Gose but his development seems to have stalled.

            • Actually I was replying to a comment about Anthony Gose for fuck sakes. :)

              Are yah sure no one is waiting for Gose to save the day? I mean, after all, at the deadline there was still a shit load of people throwing his name around as a possible centerpiece for other teams star players so clearly a lot of misguided and misinformed folks still think he is something.

              To be an effective part of the Jays all he needs to do is hit .275/.375 with the occasional threat of power (maybe 6-10 hrs a year would be great). Hack and slash, gap hitting would be terrific but in all honesty, and this is just a guess, but I don’t think he wants to be that type of player, I think his ego still believes he has 30 homerun power or something so he is unwilling to buy into the hack n slash role perhaps?

              Anyways, Pillar, yes let’s talk about Pillar. I really hope he brings it and something tells me his tenacious scrappy road doesnt end at AAA, I think we will be seeing a lot of him.

              • How the heck do you know that Gose’s ego is making him shittily try to be a 30 hr guy? Did you talk to his psychologist or something?

                I understand why Stoeten is medicating himself with enormous meat sandwiches and stadium beer.

      • Who cares if this is Gose’s second year at AAA, he only just turned 23 a few days ago. Patience Pedro.

  2. I’ve been following Kevin’s career for a while now ever since a certain Fan Cave dweller told me about him when Pillar was playing for the Dunedin team. He’s been defying his peripherals with amazing consistency. I really do hope he can be what Reed Johnson could not.

  3. Colby being shut down for the rest of this year would be great news for his arbitration number (bad for him), especially the way he was going. Pillar and the possibility of Stroman are the only things I’m excited for the rest of the way.

  4. Colby’s DL stint is probably the best thing for the team at this point. At a minimum it’ll drive his arbitration price down a few shekels, but it should also help the Jays extend Rasmus at a cheaper long-term price considering the minor injuries he seems to pile up annually.

    By all accounts Pillar sounds like the type of player fans enjoy watching, so it should be nice having him around. If you’re filling out your roster with intangibles it’s more fun as a fan that it’s with guys like Reed Johnson where you can actually see what he’s providing than a Mark DeRosa, where you don’t.

    • And it helps the team get a bitter draft pick! w00t.

      Forgive me, but it’s real tough to find some excitment from losing one of the brighter points of the season. I hope he comes back soon and continues to show us just how awesome he is.

    • Rather see Rasmus get whatever ails him fixed entirely. This season is history anyway- Colby’s absence (+ Cibia’s presence) will help us lose games and get closer to that elusive Top 3 pick!

  5. Just looking at his numbers, the BB% and BABIP are concerning.

    Still, if he’s a Reed Johnson 4th outfielder type, that’s not nothing, especially on the cheap.

    After all the Jays need more “baseball players.”

    • I remember Reed Johnson had lead off duties one year and paced the league with a 391 obp…
      then lost his roster spot to 912 year old Shannon Stewart, I was pissed.

      • It was the right move.

        • Agreed. Johnson had been banged up/shitty/couldn’t hit righties late in his Blue Jay tenure. Shannon was the better player.

        • The right move would’ve been to sign Barry Bonds for LF. Giving the everyday LF job to a 34 year old who had hit .284/.336/.388 the last 3 seasons was not one of JP’s finer moments.

          • Hey bud, have no evidence to support, but I’m sure if the Jays could have signed Bonds, they would have.

            If the Biogenesis scandal has taught us anything, its that the commisioner’s office holds a lot of power over who signs who.

        • Ugh. I hope this is a joke. I like Wilner, but it drove me nuts when he would defend this.
          There is a reasonable claim that it was NOT the right move – Stewart was old (back when people were starting to get old fast, i.e. not implying he was using steroids, but that people should have realized aging patterns were changing (on the whole), coming off a mediocre year after two really shitty years, terrible terrible defence with one of the worst arms in the majors, no more speed. Johnson was coming off an (injury-plagued) bad year, but had one year before put up better numbers than Stewart had in 4-5 years, but his defence was excellent (and could play all three outfield positions) and his arm fantastic. At best with Stewart: terrible outfielder, average hitter. At worst with Johnson: bad hitter, excellent outfielder. Worst with Stewart: what they got, awful at everything. Best for Johnson: what he did with Chicago that year: much, much better than Stewart.
          So people predicted something you didn’t. Stop saying it was lucky guessing. You could argue that the Stewart move was better, of course you can, but you CANNOT dismiss people’s claims that keeping Johnson would have been better by simply saying that “it was luck” of some such shit. Many people saw things and made judgement, and it turns out that the the people who chose Johnson were right, and not necessarily luckily.
          I fucking hate that bullshit “it was the right move”. Fucking back it up with something. Such arrogance is so infuriating.
          I love this blog, but this is just bullshit.
          I predicted what would happen. No, I am not a GM, but do you agree with every move a GM makes? Do you automatically say, “I am wrong, the GM is right?” Do you say, every time a GM does something you don’t agree with, “Well, I guess my judgment was wrong.” No. Informed individuals can make better judgments than GMs sometimes, but it is (partially) the GMs ability to make them consistently that makes them better (amongst many more things). Stop fucking defending it, and say, something like, “Many people thought it was the better move.” Stop saying, “It was the right move.” Fuck off with that. Seriously. Again, I love this blog, and have been a (polite) commenter, but this is nonsense.

  6. This news made me happier than it really should have.

    While winding down a horribly disappointing year a “defy the odds” underdog story is something I can get behind.

  7. Now is later in the day…….taps foot.

  8. Pillar will definitely get the scrappy scrapalot fans on his side. I’ve seen him play a lot, reminds me a lot of Reed Johnson from the left side. A tools fanatic like A.A. must be loathe to giving this guy a ton of exposure. And that’s not a condemnation of A.A. it’s just the truth.

  9. Sam consantino on baseball central just confirmed Kevin Pillar is on his way up!

  10. I sure hope Pillar does well, I would love to see a work hard baseball type guy get a full time spot with the Jays over Princess Gose.

  11. A white, hustling, scrappy, unheralded, late blooming, “team first” player? I just hope he’s accepted by the fans in this city.

    • We should trade him to Arizona.

    • I always get a little annoyed by the not-so-subtle smear that Toronto only gets behind scrappy white players. Yes, for whatever reason, this town seems to deify guys of limited ability who hustle, play with emotion and seemingly make the most out of what they’ve got. Being white has nothing to do with it. Jerome “junk yard dog” Williams and Reggie Evans were two Raptors that fans wholly embraced because they were “scrappy”, “unheralded” and apparently “team first” players. In case you aren’t aware, neither of them is white. Cripes, you only have cast your mind back to a Blue Jays roster of yester-weeks ago when Munenori Kawaski was walking and slapping singles for the team and being feted as a demigod for it.

  12. Could this be a *Pillar* of hope to build on for next year?

  13. Bonifacio just traded to KC as per MLB Radio

  14. PTBNL

  15. Jays trade Bonifacio….for PTBNL

  16. There’s your roster spot, fishbulb.

  17. hm. ok.

  18. I couldn’t be happier to see Kevin Pillar.

    I just hope he gets lots of AB’s.

    I guess he doesn’t have Emilio in his way anymore. Bodes well for him.

  19. Encroyable

  20. See yah later Bonishittio I will always remember your errors and terrible hitting.

  21. The Legend of Kevin Pillar. As sung by Red Sovine.

  22. … and for his next act, Bonifacio will turn himself into an all-star calibre player for the remainder of this season, and all of next season.

    Because of course he will.

  23. Floor of a 4th OF ?!?

    That is awesome for such a late round pick. Great to know we have OF depth.

    Sounds like he will be a fan favourite: White, high energy.

    • WHat’s with the ‘White” bit.
      I get that it’s kind of a joke. But it doesn’t seem too grounded to me.
      Kawasaki is not white. Nor is Bautista. Delgado wasn’t….Even Aarencibia is of cuban decent.

      so where did the notion that only white guys are popular in Toronto come from?

  24. Goodbye Boneface.

    An ignominious tenure to say the least.

  25. And Kawasaki is back up!

  26. why are some players “named later”?

    • I don’t know man. There are a lot of kids with weird names out there these days

    • His parents still can’t make up their mind.

      It’ll probably be someone useless but either way to get traded they have to go through waivers, so we’ll probably have to wait 2-3 days to find out who the 27 year old reliever in AA is.

      • Should also note, if it is surprisingly something of value, likely won’t hear until after the season.

  27. Not that I’m sad to see Boner get traced, but I don’t like seeing the jays trade anyone traded from the Jays at the lowest value they’ve ever had.

  28. Goodbye to the man, I lovingly referred to as, Bonerface.

    May your hit and fielding tools remain as they are now, and never improve.

    You will not be missed.

    The Jays should just sign Cano in the offseason. I’m sure it would be reallll easy. Just give a shout out to Jay-Z. Sing a rap song to him, and this thing probably gets figured out pretty quick.

    All joking aside, obviously Cano added to the lineup would be incredible. Having to sign him to his age 41 season would not be so great.

  29. Gotta love the underdog story.

    I remember when Piller was in Lansing (I think) someone made the comment that if you put Kevin Piller’s brain into Jake Marisnick’s body you’d have a superstar player. Nice to see him make it.

  30. Quite frankly, I have seen more than enough of Adam Lind. 1st base is a good place to put a player who can hit, but …. we’ve seen he mostly cannot. Always takes the first pitch and every chucker both leagues knows it. Enough already.

    • well said… Lind takes way too may strikes in hitter’s counts, and is predictable, like you said. I thought he didn’t like to walk?

  31. Yesssssss!!!!!!

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