Kevin Pillar may still reside within the doghouse with Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, but that hasn’t kept the outfielder out of the limelight. According to a team announcement from the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, Pillar and teammate Bobby Korecky were named as International League postseason All-Stars for the 2014 season.
While Pillar has enjoyed two relatively rocky try-outs with the Blue Jays in the past two seasons, the versatile outfielder has been a hitting machine at the minor league level. In 100 games for the Bisons, the 25-year-old is slashing .323/.359/.509 with 10 home runs, 59 RBI, 27 stolen bases, and a 136 wRC+. Additionally, his walk rate of 4.8%, while still lower than one would like, it significantly better than the 2.6% he’s put forth in 151 career plate appearances with the Blue Jays.
Given that his performance since his demotion on June 25th has been nothing short of a revelation but has yet to earn him a return trip to Toronto, one has to wonder if Pillar could work his way out of the doghouse with Gibbons. The young outfielder was purportedly demoted due to voicing his displeasure with being pinch-hit for in favor of Anthony Gose against Dellin Betances of the Yankees. That lead the Jays to send the pouting outfielder back to Buffalo in favor of Brad Glenn, who now resides in Double-A New Hampshire. With rosters expanding on Monday and Pillar in line for a promotion, the true test of how big Gibbons’ dog house really is will come shortly.
Also receiving the postseason honor was Bisons closer Bobby Korecky. The 34-yer-old career minor leaguer has been lights out at the back-end of the Buffalo bullpen, posting a 2.07 ERA, an 8.7 K/9 ratio, and 20 saves in 50 appearances (61 innings pitched). That performance earned Korecky two trips to Toronto this past season, neither of which were pretty with the right-hander allowing 4 hits and 3 runs in his 3.1 innings of work.
Korecky was designated twice for assignment this season, first to make room for Marcus Stroman on the 40-man roster and the second time to clear space for Dan Johnson. Earning the postseason honor is kind of a vindication for his efforts at Buffalo, but seeing him back at the big league level this season may be a long-shot, as it would require opening space for him on the 40-man roster.