Prior to the start of the 2015 season, the Blue Jays outfield situation wasn’t looking all that great…especially in centerfield. Jose Bautista was holding things down in right field, but as for both left and centerfield, there was plenty of uncertainty.
The Blue Jays would end up winning the division and making the post-season for the first time in 21-years in 2015. And one has to wonder how well that ball club would have fared if not for the breakout season that Kevin Pillar ended up having.
It’s easy to overlook what Pillar contributed to the ’15 Blue Jays on a roster full of such offensive juggernauts as Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion. Pillar however was one of the most important players on that team, and with the exception of Donaldson (the 2015 MVP), was the most complete player on the Blue Jays.
Pillar played the game with heart and absolutely cherished being a Toronto Blue Jay. Whether he was diving Superman style on that artificial turf or steaming full-speed into the wall to make a miraculous catch, there wasn’t anything Pillar would stop at to make a play.
Devon White is the greatest defensive outfielder to have ever played for the Blue Jays. That being said, Pillar made some catches that even the 7-time gold glove winner White wouldn’t have made. Not many players even attempt to climb that monster of a 10-foot outfield wall at Rogers Centre to make a play. Pillar however wouldn’t hesitate to scale that intimidating fence, and would make several of his most spectacular catches while climbing it.
Along with White, Vernon Wells, and Lloyd Moseby, Pillar will be remembered as one of Toronto’s finest centerfielders. Whether in the midst of a rebuild (like they currently are) or making a run at the post-season (like in 2015/2016), it made little difference to Pillar, who to his credit still played the game the only way he knew how…full-out, leaving it all on the field.