Kevin Pillar has been the Toronto Blue Jays lead-off hitter for the past six games. He now has a seventh game hitting streak, and looks better than he has ever been before at the plate. Along with Justin Smoak and Darwin Barney, he has been one of the best hitters on the 2017 Blue Jays team. But from striking out in almost every at bat last year, how did he come to where he is today?
The 2015/2016 Jays sluggers have had freezing bats in the past thirteen regular season games. Bautista, Martin, Pearce and Travis have a combined batting average of .125, while Pillar, Smoak and Barney are averaging .328 combined. Who would have guessed that?
In thirteen games, Pillar has a .345 batting average, one of the highest among blue jays starters. He has adjusted his stance and mind at the plate, helping him get to his high average. In Spring Training, Pillar was one of the hottest hitters, while Bautista, Travis, and Donaldson were all absent (due to the World Baseball Classic and injuries). He has taken all of the things he practiced in spring training, and has successfully applied them into his major league at bats.
Buck Martinez, Pat Tabler and Dan Shulman (Toronto Blue Jays play-by-play announcers/colour commentators), have praised Pillar of his new offensive approach. Pillar has started to resist the urge to hit un-hittable pitches, while hitting the ones that he should be able to touch. And while Kevin Pillar has still struck out a few times this season, he has not been striking out at the same rate he was throughout last season. He has been able to force the pitcher to throw deep into the count, while waiting for the certain pitches that he know he can hit. Remember, the Jays are not paying him to hit home runs, they are paying him to get on base for the other hitters who can hopefully bring him back around home (although, that has been the Jays main trouble early in the season).
Kevin Pillar has stated before that he wants to be known as an all-around player, not just known for superman like catches. If he can continue to play the way he has been for the past 13 games, fans will definitely start to think of him as the Superman who is saving the team (and Canada)!