Earlier today, Blue Jays Scout/performance coach, Steve Springer (@qualityatbats) tweeted some interesting information regarding the Toronto Blue Jays highly touted Outfield Prospect, Kevin Pillar.
In his tweet he mentioned how Pillar signed on with merely a $1000 bonus, was picked up in the later rounds of the 2011 June Amateur Draft and is set to make his MLB debut with Toronto tonight (Wednesday, August 14th).
Pillar who appears to be Major League ready, will be up with Toronto for the duration of Center Fielder, Colby Rasmus’ Disabled List stint which has been backdated to August 12th. Rasmus tweaked his oblique on a check swing vs the A’s, A.J. Griffin during Sunday’s game and has been out of Toronto’s line up for the past 2 games.
Said to be one of the most mentally toughest ball players in Toronto’s organization, Pillar has hit well at every level in the Blue Jays farm system as the 24 year old California native has compiled a .321/.366/.466 slash line in 311 MiLB games as a professional.
The West Hills California native is regarded by many as a quality ball palyer with an above average bat, great defense and has been known tp be an outstanding teammate as noted by fellow prospects in New Hampshire’s Sean Nolin & Buffalo’s Jim Negrych.
Speaking of the Blue Jays farm system, Pillar is set to become both the Vancouver Canadians & Bluefield Blue Jays first alumni to make it to the show with Toronto. The two affiliate franchises are fairly new to the organization having joined in 2011 and both clubs have fielded championship squads since their introduction into Toronto’s system.
Personally, I have only seen Pillar play a couple of times split between Spring Training and a few games with Buffalo. Although his plate discipline (or lack there of) appears to be a focal point for the young prospect, I have seen him get into some pretty serious battles at the dish, one of which was against Pawtucket’s RHP (and former MLB All Star Jose Contreras).
Pillar took when the pitch was too poor to offer at and fouled off some tough ones that both tied him up and made him reach out however in this AB, he drew a walk and ended up scoring the tying Run with 2 out in the 9th inning. Perhaps I’m letting this AB get the better of my judgement however I personally believe that his swing mentality is an issue that will solve it’s self over the maturation process into a MLB ball player.
Pillar’s promotion doesn’t come without speculation as the 24 year old has seemingly jumped Anthony Gose on the teams Outfield Depth Chart, raising questions about Gose’s value to this organization following a relatively rough season with AAA Buffalo.
General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos was quick to put these theories to rest as he hinted that the 23 year old Gose, who is currently on the teams 40 Man Roster, will be called up as early as Thursday. The promotion of Gose seems eminent as Toronto’ dealt their 4th outfielder earlier today leaving the club with 3 for tonight’s tilt vs Boston.
As expected, Emilio Bonifacio was placed on waivers earlier this week only to be claimed by the surging Kansas City Royals who like the Dodgers, have been on an absolute tear since the All Star Break and appear to be headed for a postseason berth. Toronto quickly withdrew the waivers and started to discuss a trade for the bewildered utility player who could be useful to the Royals down the stretch. When the smoke cleared, Bonifacio was shipped to the Kansas City for a player to be named later as well as cash considerations.
Joining Pillar on the shuttle down the QEW was Infielder, Munenori Kawasaki who will begin his 3rd stint with Toronto this season as he mans 2nd base in tonight’s game between the Blue Jays and Red Sox.