Kevin Pillar proves yet again that hitting the ball in his direction is a bad idea
Years from now, when Kevin Pillar is enjoying retirement, he could easily start a new career teaching the art of outfield defense. He's a cut above, really, and has put that on display during this weekend's series between the Blue Jays and Twins at Target Field.
On Sunday, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier was Pillar's latest victim, having done the one thing batters just can't do against the Jays: hit the ball in the general vicinity of center field.
Dozier, whose fly ball would probably have fallen in for an extra-base hit in nearly any other situation, fell instead into Pillar's outstretched glove after his latest jaw-dropping catch. The whole thing made pitcher Marcus Stroman very excited on the mound, too:
After the game, Stroman spoke with MLB.com's Dan Myers about how much he enjoys having Pillar in the field behind him:
"I might get him a pair of Jordans or something. Yeah, he's always saving our [rear ends]. He's helping all of us out there each and every day and we're just thankful to have him out there. Any ball that's remotely close to him, he usually comes down with so that's pretty reassuring, having someone like that out there behind you."
Meanwhile, manager John Gibbons spoke of the reputation Pillar has built on the team:
"That's probably gonna plate one and there's no telling what happens from there. But I've said many times, we've seen him do it over and over and over, it's really not a big deal for us anymore to watch it. He's a special outfielder."
And words from Pillar himself:
"That's what I'm out there to do. I've been struggling offensively, I just try to go out there to do what I'm on this team to do, go out there and make plays and help our pitchers. It doesn't hurt when you get a couple hits early in the game, you're feeling a little extra froggy out there. Off the bat, I thought that ball was going to be in the gap and I just have a no-give-up attitude and as I got closer, I went for it. Ended up being a big part of the day."
According to Statcast, Pillar reached a maximum speed of 19.7 mph and covered nearly 86 feet of outfield grass in pursuit of the ball.
Pillar's defensive wizardry isn't limited to catches, though. On Saturday, he showed off his arm's other skill by setting up perfectly and firing a strike to third base to prevent Eduardo Nunez from advancing on a Miguel Sano flyout:
So, again, just don't hit it in his direction, hitters. It won't end well for you.