It’s something you just don’t see all too often in the game of baseball…a player that can do everything, and do it well. When Kevin Pillar had his breakout season back in 2015, he displayed solid speed, the ability to hit for contact, and more than anything…spectacular defense. Until he got away from being such a free swinger however, his game would still be considered a work in progress.
This year Pillar appears to be doing everything better, even the parts of his game that were already strong. What we’re seeing is a player who has that perfect combination of skill, experience, and still being in their prime years to be able to play some special baseball. Not only has he evolved as a hitter, he’s become a leader on this ball club. With the departure of Jose Bautista, Pillar’s become the captain of the outfield as he leads a mixed group of veterans and younger players, most of whom are new to the Blue Jays.
In years past, heart and soul players such as Josh Donaldson had the ability to will this team to victory almost single-handedly. This is exactly the sort of thing that Pillar is now doing for the Blue Jays. And there’s no better example of that than what he did in the third game of the season against the Yankees.
After losing the first two games of the season, the Blue Jays couldn’t afford to lose again and start their year 0-3. Such a start would surely have brought back memories of that painful April from a year ago. Pillar, more than anyone, understood how much a win would mean to the Blue Jays and their fans at this early stage of the season. So with the score 4-3 Blue Jays in the bottom of the 8th inning, Pillar hit a single and then proceeded to do the impossible. He stole 2nd…then 3rd…and finished up by stealing home!
Those three stolen bases didn’t just propel Toronto to their first win of the season, it set the tone for how the Blue Jays have been playing ever since. It also provided fans hope that what happened at the beginning of last year wouldn’t be repeated, simply because Pillar wasn’t going to allow such a start to happen again.