Blue Jays 2015 Year in Review: Kevin Pillar


Opening day of 2015 was packed with excitement. One of the most anticipated was that we were finally going to see one of the Blue Jays top prospects, Dalton Pompey, start. Following a tumultuous start, however, we saw Pompey demoted back to the minors and Jose Bautista miss time in right field with injury. We also watched on as Chris Colabello and Danny Valencia moved from the corner infield to plug hole. The one thing that was consistent through all of this was the play of Kevin Pillar.

Pillar was a mere afterthought at the beginning of a season filled with high hopes. Now that the season has passed, and Pillar is no longer in the back of the room. He is on the forefront of success.

Pillar began the year in left, but quickly moved to replace Pompey at Center. From that position he immediately began thrilling the Major Leaguse with highlight reel grabs. It seemed he was making them almost every day. Pillar went from a AAAA player to being an established, every day outfielder. This wasn’t done on his defensive prowess alone, either, posting a .278 Average with 76 Runs, 56 RBI’s, and even 12 homers to top it off. Doing so from the bottom of the lineup, Pillar rounded out an already stacked roster.

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It was known that Pillar was a good outfielder; it wasn’t known that he could be this good. Pillar went from competing for a spot on the field to outshining every other contender. Pillar was a one man outfield. In 2015, Pillar emerged as a defensive machine early on for a team that was lacking strong defensive plays, and leading the way when the team began to click late in the year. It is impossible to imagine a Blue Jays team without Pillar’s defensive contributions.

His 15.2 UZR helped push Pillar to a 4.3 WAR that nobody saw coming. As the season went on, it almost seemed Pillar was showing off. Yet night after night “Superman” managed to impress fans and the Jays again and again.


While he will always be a defensive specialist, Pillar has often struggled with his patience at the plate. While Pillar saw significant growth in his overall value, he did not demonstrate anything unusual for himself at the dish. In just 53 games last season, Pillar put up an Average of .267, an OBP of .295, and an OPS of .692. Playing in 159 games in 2015, Pillar’s stats have improved marginally, but not strayed far from those totals. So while his contributions were a surprise from the bottom of the lineup, that seems to be where his pat is destined to stay. If his defense can stay at this level, that should be just fine.


The 2015 season was enough to secure that if Pillar keeps up his fielding and remains healthy, he’s clearly the man in centre. Only time will tell if his offensive showing can get even better, or if the Blue Jays just have to be content with speedy defensive expert batting at the bottom of the order. Regardless of what the 2016 season holds for Pillar, one thing is for certain. 2015 saw him win an AL Player of the Week Award for his offensive contributions, saw him play nearly a full season as an everyday starter, and guarantees that he’s in the conversation for the Gold Glove for centre field. This was the year of Kevin Pillar.

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