Archive for the ‘Kevin Pillar’ Category

pillarglovethrow

GOODBYE KEVIN PILLAR!!!!!!1!!!

Brad Glenn, eh?

A 23rd rounder taken by the Jays in 2009 as a college senior, Glenn has taken a slow rise through the Jays system essentially as a non-prospect who was a little old for the levels he was competing at. At Lansing in 2010 Glenn was in his age-23 season, playing with a group of hitters with an average age of 21.4. He was a year older than the average age of his non-pitcher teammates the following year at Dunedin, and was exactly on average at 25 in New Hampshire in 2012, though that average is somewhat misleading, given the lack of real prospects the Jays had at the level — only Jake Marisnick (21) and A.J. Jimenez (22) among that group look like players with the potential to be more than just fringe big leaguers at best. And that year, Glenn didn’t even hit.

Posting a .239/.291/.440 line over 461 plate appearances as a 25-year-old in Double-A is a pretty quick way to become an afterthought. Glenn always did show decent raw power, though, posting ISOs in about the .200 range at each of his minor league stints, and hitting 17, 26, 19, and 22 home runs in the four years from 2010 to 2013. But he always struck out too much, and he never walked enough… until 2013.

After walking just 29 times in those 461 plate appearances at New Hampshire in 2012, he repeated the level at walked 45 times in 477 plate appearances in 2013, earning a brief call-up to Buffalo, where he was even better. He began 2014 back at New Hampshire, though — a fairly clear sign of where he stood in the Jays’ pecking order, one assumed — and upped his walk rate again, though everything else seemed to go south (his strikeout rate jumped to 28.4%, for example).

Still, he was shuffled to Buffalo in mid-May, and rather than looking like the org. guy he pretty plainly seems to be, he went on an absolute tear. In 122 plate appearances over the last six weeks he’s hit .377/.418/.570. The walks have disappeared again, but who needs walks when everything you put in play falls for a hit? Or… well, not everything, just 45.9% of his balls in play have led to him being on base. Is a .459 BABIP remotely sustainable? Hells naw! Can he continue to hit like this over multiple-hundred big league plate appearances? No offence to Brad, but I have precisely zero fucking faith.

But… I dunno. Ride the hot hand, I guess. And as Ken Rosenthal, commenting on a Jays minor move for some reason, tweets, the Jays have eight of twelve upcoming games against left-handed starters, and also notes that Glenn can play a little first base, which could be important with Adam Lind’s foot hurting, and Edwin Encarnacion seemingly being fine — he’s back in the lineup today — but having suffered a scary collision with Mark Teixeira last night.

Oh, and there’s another aspect to all this. Last night, in a key situation in the bottom of the eighth inning, after walking to the plate, assuming, for some reason, he’d face the right-handed Dellin Betances, Kevin Pillar strode to the plate. He was then called back to the dugout, as Anthony Gose was coming in to pinch hit for him — the obvious move, given their lefty-righty splits. But obvious or not, Pillar clearly wasn’t happy. Cameras on the Sportsnet broadcast showed him throwing his bat down the dugout stairs, moving to the bench to briefly take a seat, then walking over to John Gibbons for a brief chat. Gibbons is hidden by the dugout wall in the image above, but in the background you can clearly see Pillar as he tosses a glove — the white blob just above the corner of the wall — to the dugout floor while in conversation with his manager.

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pillartied

Kevin Pillar providing a visual approximation of what AA is doing to this club with his roster management.

So, remember last night, when I defended the Jays’ decision to call up Jonathan Diaz and not, say, Kevin Pillar? Y’know, the guy who, despite being the hot bat at Buffalo right now, isn’t far into his triple-A career and struggled mightily last year when pressed into big league action, about whom I wrote, “that doesn’t mean the Jays should necessarily shield him, but is it an ideal situation to bring him up and hope the hot bat continues in the big leagues in a limited role? Is it not defensible to choose to not introduce him to such potential for failure, and just let him continue to apprentice at the triple-A level?”

Well… about that.

The game of musical chairs continued today for the Jays, as Diaz was optioned back to Buffalo, and with Colby Rasmus exiting last night’s game with a tight hamstring, it was indeed Pillar who got the call to re-join the big club. He’ll start tonight in centre.

I don’t even know, man — and not just because I seem to have this damn cold that’s going around (and take two guesses at what that means for the likelihood of a podcast in the next day or three). I do know one thing, though:

So… yeah. It’s frustrating.

On the other hand, Pillar really is a hot bat: a .305/.344/.461 slash line, a .361 wOBA, a 124 wRC+, coming off a streak of reaching base in 26 straight games (or something), and, excluding a cold six games to start the season, actually slashing a ridiculous .353/.397/.543 since then. And as a damn right-handed bat, too. He’s not really a platoon guy — his splits are fairly even in Buffalo — but as far as being a genuine replacement for Rajai Davis, the right-hitting platoon DH slash spare outfielder that the Jays have sought all season, he’s about as close as this organization has got. Maybe it works.

boniEM-finished

Because of course this was going to happen in the 20 minute period while I was walking to work: according to a release from the Jays, Emilio Bonifacio has been dealt to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later or cash, while Colby Rasmus has placed on the 15-day DL. This frees up one 40-man roster spot and two spots on the active roster, which have been filled by Kevin Pillar– as discussed earlier– and Munenori Kawasaki.

Never too late to fix your mistakes, I guess. Except, y’know, when it totally is.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say that Emilio Bonifacio is what sunk this team, or anything like that. He’s just one of many parts of the compendium of cock-ups and underperformances that did the Jays in. Not that it’s necessarily his fault that he was miscast as a full-time player by a team drooling over the .296/.360/.393 line he put up in 2011, when he was last healthy.

Frankly, as much as sour fuckheads wanted to argue all season about how the Jays should have known he’d be this bad, it wasn’t the craziest proposition. Though he struggled at the big league level in his first full season at age 24, in his final three seasons with the Marlins, from ages 25 through 27, he posted a .280/.345/.362 line over eleven-hundred plate appearances, so anyone suggesting that anything close to this year’s disgusting .218/.258/.321 should have been expected is being pretty thoroughly disingenuous.

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Hello Kevin Pillar?

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…

HELLO KEVIN PILLAR!!!!

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