Friday, December 7, 2012

Top 20 Prospects: #9 Kevin Pillar OF

#9 Kevin Pillar OF

Born: January 4th, 1989 in West Hills, California, US (Age 23)
Acquired Via: Draft. 32nd round, in the 2011 June Amateur Draft from California State University.
Bats: Right. Throws: Right. Height: 6’0’’. Weight: 200 lb.
Baseball America Ranking-Not Listed
Baseball Prospectus Ranking-TBA
Fangraphs Ranking- #14 Ranking- Not listed
Minor League Ball- #17

2012 Stats and Analysis:

Lansing (A)
Dunedin (A+)

Kevin Pillar was an absolute star in 2012. After impressing in his half a season pro-debut in 2011 playing for Bluefield, Pillar started 2012 in Dunedin, and was called up to New Hampshire with around a month left to play. Everything went right for him the entire year, and he put his name on the map for Blue Jays fans.He stole 51 bases, had a great OBP, didn’t strike out too much, and was patient at the plate. The only thing about Pillar that didn’t go well for him in 2012 was the power numbers, but then again, he is not a power hitter at all. Many are very impressed with the year that he had, but many wonder why he isn’t higher on these prospect lists; is there something we’re missing? Well, a couple things. For 1, Pillar was picked in the 32nd round of the draft, so scouts who saw him play in university saw much less in him than what his 2012 stats suggest. Another thing is his BABIP. Pillar hits a ton of line drives, so a BABIP well above .300 isn’t out-of-the-ordinary, but up over .350? I think we’re bound to see a regression there. 

Scouting Report:

I personally have never seen Pillar play, but Jim Callis of Baseball America described him as an “Overachieving 4th outfielder.”  Pillar doesn't have a plus tool but gets the most out of what he has and makes a lot of contact. I really like that in a player, it sounds like the stats that he accumulated this year had a lot to do with his scrappiness, and aggressiveness, a tool, or mindset, that is rarely looked at. The part that really encourages me about Pillar is that his speed isn’t blinding, and yet he still stole 51 bases, just goes to show you how much of a heady player he is. David Eckstein built a career on hustle,Pillar might be able to do the same.

Where will he be in 2013, and ETA? Projection?
Spring Training will tell us where Pillar will be starting in 2013. I'd bet that he starts in AA playing for the Fisher Cats, but I can see him starting the year in Dunedin as well.From there, he could make the leap to Buffalo, but I would doubt he gets to the Majors in 2013. Expect him to be called up at some point in 2014 if all goes well. I like Pillar more than the professional scouts do because, from what I can tell, he plays the game the right way. I view his ceiling as a low to mid-tier starting outfielder, with his likely landing spot being a 4th outfielder. I would compare him to a faster version of Reed Johnson. They are both great contact hitters, and both play the game hard. Expect Kevin to be a fan favourite, wherever he lands. 

Comments and criticisms welcome below.

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