Blue Jays First Half Surprises

4 of 5

Jul 2, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays center fielder

Kevin Pillar

(11) catches a ball during the ninth inning in a game against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. The Boston Red Sox won 12-6. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Before the season started, it looked like Dalton Pompey would man center field and Kevin Pillar would be fighting for everyday at bats. And, it has long been thought that all Pillar needed was a chance to have his name written in the lineup regularly to flourish. Well, this season he got his chance. Michael Saunders was taken out of the equation by a sprinkler head. Pompey struggled and was demoted. The starting job was Pillar’s by default.

But, since then, he’s wowed us with his fancy acrobatics and all out style of play. He crashes into walls more than a kid’s remote control car. He’s been fun to watch. Remember this?

Except that catch back on Jackie Robinson day is not where his contributions end. It seems like very week, there is a Pillar highlight to watch. All told, his outfield defense has been worth a UZR/150 of 9.4 and a DRS of 13! According to, his defensive value sits at 5.7. 

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  • But, he’s not just getting it done with the glove. With everyday playing time, Pillar is hitting .278 with 7 HR and 37 RBI. Now, he still doesn’t walk much (4.5%), but he is certainly holding his own, which might be a surprise to some. But, he brings a solid bottom of the order bat that can run the bases well. His BsR (Base Running Runs Above Average) is at 5.0.

    Can we ask for anything more out of Kevin Pillar? Probably not, since we didn’t even think we couldask for this out of him. With an overall WAR of 2.3, the Blue Jays may be getting a massive steal, here since Fangraphs translates Pillar’s value to $18M!

    Is Kevin Pillar your biggest surprise from the first half of the 2015 season? Vote in our poll at the end!

    Next: Is There a New Devo in Town?