Kevin Pillar
Kevin Pillar
30-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Toronto Blue Jays
2019 Fantasy Outlook
You may not draft Pillar, but at some point, you'll have him, or a player of his ilk. Pillar is the model, "doesn't hurt you, helps you a little everywhere" guy whose defense keeps him in the lineup when healthy. That last part is key as despite averaging a reasonable 147 games the past three seasons, Pillar is usually docked for health concerns. Rostered for cheap speed without sacrificing much power, Pillar has posted consecutive seasons with homers and steals in the teens. His stolen-base ceiling is higher, but the Blue Jays don't run much, managing the third-fewest steals since 2016. Of slight concern: Pillar's fielding metrics have dropped each of the past two seasons, but they're still positive. His plate skills declined last year, as he walked a paltry 3.3% of the time while fanning at an 18.1% clip, his highest mark since becoming a full-time player in 2012. Pillar should be mixed-roster worthy for at least one more season, at a minimal cost. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $5.8 million contract with the Blue Jays in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Pops first spring homer
OFToronto Blue Jays
March 8, 2019
Pillar went 1-for-3 with a solo home run in Thursday's Grapefruit League game against the Rays.
It's his first homer, and only his third hit, of the spring through 18 at-bats. Pillar is still penciled in as the Jays' starting center fielder for the fifth straight season, but the 30-year-old's declining numbers last year -- both at the plate and on defense -- are a warning sign that his hold on the job could be slipping, especially if either Dalton Pompey or Anthony Alford finally begins to put things together.
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Batting Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .778 460 49 11 44 9 .284 .313 .465
Since 2016vs Right .668 1298 147 27 110 34 .249 .289 .379
2018vs Left .686 156 18 5 15 1 .235 .256 .430
2018vs Right .717 386 47 10 44 13 .259 .293 .424
2017vs Left .940 155 21 4 10 3 .336 .381 .559
2017vs Right .628 477 51 12 32 12 .230 .274 .354
2016vs Left .709 149 10 2 19 5 .283 .302 .407
2016vs Right .668 435 49 5 34 9 .261 .303 .365
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS at Home
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
Since 2016Home .712 874 105 20 77 23 .261 .294 .418
Since 2016Away .682 884 91 18 77 20 .255 .297 .385
2018Home .726 274 36 11 31 9 .243 .270 .456
2018Away .690 268 29 4 28 5 .261 .295 .395
2017Home .652 313 31 6 17 9 .240 .279 .373
2017Away .756 319 41 10 25 6 .271 .322 .434
2016Home .765 287 38 3 29 5 .301 .333 .431
2016Away .596 297 21 4 24 9 .233 .274 .323
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Stat Review
How does Kevin Pillar compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Additional Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Blue Jays Depth Chart
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Kevin Pillar
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17 days ago
RotoWire staffers share their overall 2019 rankings to create the first composite Top 350 of 2019.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
Pillar now has three full major-league seasons in the books, and at this point, it seems safe to say that he is what he is. His walk rate has ranged from 4.1 percent to 5.2 percent over the past three years, while his strikeout rate has ranged from 13.5 to 15.4. There is only modest thump in his bat to go with the lackluster on-base skills (27.3 percent hard-hit rate last season), but Pillar compensates on the defensive end. Speed is his most appealing attribute in fantasy, but Pillar only attempted five steals in the second half last season and was caught two of those times. While Pillar did improve greatly against lefties last season, he gave all of that back with another decline in performance against right-handers (.230/.274/.354). Expecting a step forward in his age-29 season seems misguided, but Pillar will play every day and figures to produce something close to his three-year averages.
With leadoff man Devon Travis on the mend to open 2016, Pillar was afforded the top spot in one of the most potent batting orders in baseball. Unfortunately, he was unable to lock down the role, hitting just .198/.231/.291 in 86 at-bats as Toronto's table setter. Despite the disappointment, Pillar found a home at the bottom of the lineup and hit .277 when penciled in at the bottom third of the order, including .324/.369/.419 in 148 at-bats as the eighth hitter. Pillar is a solid contact hitter (82.2 percent rate in 2016) but has minimal power for an outfielder (.109 ISO) and doesn't get on base enough (.303 career OBP) to make him more than a below-average offensive threat (80 wRC+ last season). After swiping 25 bags in 2015, the 27-year-old disappointed by stealing just 14 bases on 20 tries. The center fielder's elite defense will continue to make him a mainstay in the Jays lineup, but fantasy leagues don't award points for web gems. A spot near the bottom of the lineup also caps his fantasy upside.
Pillar earned the starting center field job for the Jays and rode it out the entire season. He was mostly in there for his amazing outfield defense, but Pillar held his own at the plate, as he hit .278/.314/.399, tied his professional season high with 12 home runs and added 25 stolen bases in an efficient 29 attempts (86 percent success rate). After striking out nearly one out of every four plate appearances in his first season, Pillar nearly slashed his strikeout rate in half, as he struck out just 85 times in 628 plate appearances (13.5 percent). Combine that contact rate with his speed and Pillar should be able to maintain a solid batting average going forward. Pillar will also be in one of the best lineups in the league again next season with the Blue Jays, so a high run total like last year’s 76 is certainly possible again.
Pillar posted the best numbers of his professional career at Triple-A Buffalo last season, swatting 10 homers and stealing 27 bases in 33 attempts while carrying an .868 OPS. He appeared in 53 games for the Jays, where his strikeout rate spiked upon promotion to the big leagues for the second straight year (24.6 career K% in MLB). The departure of Anthony Gose will help to clear Pillar's path to a place on the Opening Day roster, but that route could be obstructed if the Jays acquire veteran outfield help through free agency or trade. At 26, he doesn't have much left to prove at Triple-A, and Pillar could exceed expectations if he finds a way to cut back on the strikeouts against top-level pitching. More likely, he'll end up on the small side of a platoon in the long run, after pounding lefties at Buffalo (.387/.400/.645) and posting a mediocre line against righties (.259/.316/.424).
Pillar reached the majors for the first time in 2013, producing an unsightly .206/.250/.333 line over 110 plate appearances. He fared much better at Triple-A Buffalo, where he turned in a .299/.341/.493 line after earning a midseason promotion from Double-A New Hampshire. Pillar's lack of power has allowed him to fly under the radar as a prospect, even though he possesses good speed and above average contact skills. He'll probably be more of a fourth or fifth outfielder than a starter, and he could compete for a reserve role in spring training.
More Fantasy News
No drama on deadline day
OFToronto Blue Jays
January 11, 2019
Pillar agreed to a one-year, $5.8 million contract with the Blue Jays on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Ben Nicholson-Smith of reports.
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Collects three hits in loss
OFToronto Blue Jays
September 30, 2018
Pillar went 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored in Sunday's loss to the Rays.
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Sitting out Saturday
OFToronto Blue Jays
September 29, 2018
Pillar is not in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Rays, Hazel Mae of Sportsnet reports.
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Day off Tuesday
OFToronto Blue Jays
September 25, 2018
Pillar is not in the lineup Tuesday against the Astros.
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Goes deep vs. Houston
OFToronto Blue Jays
September 24, 2018
Pillar went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run in Monday's 5-3 loss to the Astros.
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