Kevin Pillar joined the Atlanta Braves this past season for his 11th year in the big leagues. After being known as a stellar defensive player and finishing 22nd in MVP voting in 2019 with the Blue Jays, Pillar became more of a role player rather than an every day outfielder he was in Toronto.
Pillar appeared in exactly half of the Braves games in 2023 (81). Over this stretch, he hit .228 with 9 home runs and 32 runs batted in. This is about what Atlanta expected to get out of Pillar with the bat.
Eddie Rosarion and Kevin Pillar split playing time in left field for the Braves this past season depending on the opposing pitcher. Pillar historically has better numbers against southpaws, so he was in the lineup when the Braves faced left-handed hurlers. In 2023 specifically, he hit .250 with 6 home runs and 18 runs batted in over his 111 plate appearances against lefties.
Pillar was also a great weapon to have off the bench if he did not start. If the opposing bullpen turned to a lefty to face Rosario, Snitker had the luxury of pinch hitting Pillar. In addition, his defensive efforts in left field were quite impressive.
Defense has always been what Kevin Pillar has been known for as he has made some memorable plays in the outfield for nearly every team he has been a part of. This was no different this past season in Atlanta.
Going into the off-season, Pillar is now a free agent but is very thankful for his time in Atlanta. His bat against lefties, impressive defense and veteran presence can be viewed as the unsung hero of the 104 win season for the Atlanta Braves in 2023.
As Kevin Pillar finds a new team, we wish him nothing but success and are thankful for his efforts during this past season.