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NY Mets: Kevin Pillar had a good, not so great, very memorable first half

Jun 30, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Mets center fielder Kevin Pillar (11) runs after a double against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 30, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Mets center fielder Kevin Pillar (11) runs after a double against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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As the end of the first half of the 2021 season nears its end, I would like to reflect back a little bit on what we saw from the New York Mets. Kevin Pillar is one guy we saw grab the headlines a lot more than many people expected. Injuries to other players and his own recovery from a violent hit by pitch to the face all helped to make him a notable player on the Mets roster.

Pillar’s first half ends with him back on the bench and all three of the Mets outfielders seemingly healthy. He’s back in the expected role as the team’s fourth outfielder.

While we’ll probably see him play plenty, we won’t see him penciled into the lineup every day. Pillar is back to the bench for the majority of the time. Looking back at his first half, the only way I can describe it is good, not so great, yet very memorable.

Kevin Pillar’s numbers with the Mets leave a lot to be desired

Pillar hit a major slump at one point this season which has brought his batting average down drastically. It was never exceptional this season, but it was at least a little more respectable than where it sits right now.

The season has been a tale of two. In April, he hit .115 in 28 trips to the plate. Given more playing time in May, Pillar batted .327 in 58 opportunities. Things got bad again in June with Pillar hitting just .191 while receiving 94 plate appearances.

Something positive to note about Pillar’s year, he has been one of the better players at hitting home runs. It’s not a complete surprise. Pillar hit 21 back in 2019. If he was to stay as a regular in 2021, it wouldn’t be impossible for him to reach this total again.

This won’t be the case outside of an injury. Pillar was brought in to pinch-hit, occasionally start, and maybe give the Mets a little more guts—the attribute he has clearly thrived at doing most.

The masked Met showed the youngsters that ballplayers can be tough. Yet to win the World Series or even appear in a game beyond the ALCS, he’s one of the club’s older players this year and surely one of the hungriest to win it all.

Mid-term grades for the Mets infielders. Next

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The first half may not have gone his way, aside from winning over Mets fans in an unorthodox way. The second half can still provide him with more opportunities. Gutting through playing irregularly, however, may be the biggest challenge he faces. If April was any hint, it may be tough to get Pillar going without constant playing time. If what he contributes most is leadership though, we may have to settle with that intangible and hope it infects the rest of the roster.

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