NY Mets: Grading each of the major moves made last offseason
A moment I won’t forget from the 2021 season was when Kevin Pillar was hit in the face by a pitch in Atlanta. I had never seen a player get hit like that live. The way Pillar came back from that was inspiring and uplifting. Pillar was back in the lineup just two weeks later after breaking his nose.
When Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo were hurt, Pillar was the one responsible to step in and play every day. While I definitely appreciate the heart and passion he displayed, Pillar just didn’t do well in a full-time role.
This season he slashed .231/.277/.415 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI. He did have some clutch hits this season but overall wasn’t a very good hitter as his 88 OPS+ shows.
While Pillar has always been a below-average hitter in his career, he has always hit lefties well. This season, however, he slashed .240/.256/.421 against southpaws, posting an OPS+ of 81. Pillar’s career OPS+ against lefties is 117. Pillar being a good hitter against lefties would’ve been great for a Mets team that struggled against left-handed pitching. He could have replaced Michael Conforto in right field who really struggled against lefties this season if he hit lefties well.
Pillar’s nickname is “Superman” due to the outstanding catches he’s made in the outfield in his career, mainly with the Blue Jays. Unfortunately, Pillar is now 32 and is not a good defensive player anymore.
Pillar was in the 39th percentile in OAA according to baseball savant and posted a -1 DRS according to Fangraphs. Pillar was below average at the plate and in the field this season.
The Mets signed Pillar to a two-year, $6.5 million dollar deal this offseason with the second year being a player option worth $2.9 million dollars. He will almost certainly pick up the option.
I hope the Mets just cut their losses and release Pillar and get a better fourth outfielder but I doubt that will actually happen. Hopefully, his bat and especially his glove improve to make him more playable.