Several years ago, Kevin Pillar was an exciting player, mostly for his defensive play with the Blue Jays. The last few years have seen him split time in different organizations such as the San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, New York Mets, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He would spend the first two months in the Dodgers minor leagues before finally being called up. After just seven games, he would injure his shoulder sliding into third base which would force him to undergo shoulder surgery, ending his 2022 season.
While 2022 was a done year for Pillar, he was a serviceable outfielder for the Mets during the 2021 season. The Braves bring him in as outfield depth on a minor league deal.
If he is back fully healthy, there is reason to believe Pillar could be a great 4th outfielder who provides elite defense. Maybe a late inning defensive replacement for an Eddie Rosario, Marcell Ozuna, or others. He could also be used to give Michael Harris a day off in center field, something they lost with Adam Duvall leaving this off-season for Boston.
Most projection systems believe that Pillar could bring below average bat in the 90 wRC+ range while also playing solid defense. That will play as a 4th outfielder if he were to make the major league team.
Kevin Pillar joining the Braves also brings up the 2021 incident where Pillar was injured from a pitch of then Braves pitcher Jacob Webb. A scary sight.
It will be interesting to see if Pillar makes it to the Braves roster. It is a low risk option for the Braves that could pay solid dividends if he returns to his old form.