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.
Kevin pillar 1k signing bonus making mlb debut tonight-bottom line u hit u play-40 rnds 4 a reason-no exact science 2 it-compete/confidence
— steve springer (@qualityatbats) August 14, 2013
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…
HELLO KEVIN PILLAR!!!!
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.