With a .320 AVG, 28 RBI and 86 total bases, the outfielder grabs the attention of players, coaches and fans every time he steps on the diamond, and manager John Tamargo is no exception.
"He's done a tremendous job," he said. "Outstanding. True professional in every sense of the word. Comes to the ballpark to work everyday and never wants a day off. He's done an outstanding job for us."
A few weeks ago, Pillar accomplished a feat that a baseball player of any level would be proud of: going six-for-six, ending the streak with a grand slam.
"That was a highlight of my career, going six-for-six in a game," he said. "Just getting six at-bats...[it's a] credit to our team. We started swinging the bats really good but going six-for-six is probably something I'll never have a chance to do again in my career. It's something I'll always remember and finishing it off with a home run, my first and only of the season, was even more special."
But the high didn't last long for Pillar. The very next day, he went 0-for-five. Hitting coach Kenny Graham said he believes Pillar was just trying to live up to the same bar he set the night before.
"It didn't go to his head, but he is coming off from such a high that evening that player's something think, "Well, I was six-for-six tonight, I may never get out again,'" Graham said. "You know, it's a matter of staying in the moment, staying in the process and constantly just working in the box, working in the cage to improve."
Pillar agreed, saying he thought he might have been trying to do too much to follow up one of the best games in his career. He added that the inconsistency demonstrated in those two games is something he thinks he really needs to work on.
Tamargo said he thinks Pillar has been consistently good the entire season, citing him and Chris Hawkins as the most consistent guys on the team this year.
"There's going to be ups and downs in baseball," Tamargo said. "There's so many games that you're not going to have three hits, four hits every game. But as long as you keep it from being a rollercoaster up and down, up and down and just trying to stay on that even keel, that consistent. And [Pillar's] been doing that and hopefully he continues that."
Tamargo, Graham and Pillar all said they think one of the things which sets Pillar apart from the rest of the team is his focus and dedication, both at practice and during games.
"Kevin's work in the cage is so deliberate and so focused that you see improvements in his mechanics and his swing everyday," Tamargo said.
"In college and his whole life he's been able to hit and he's just one of those hitters but he's progressed mechanically to improve his swing so he's getting a lot more extra base hits and he's hitting the ball harder, getting more consistency with his swing and mechanics — that's what's really improved. Just like all young hitters he's really started to focus on his approach and improving his approach to go along with improving his swing."
Pillar he has realized the importance of a successful and meaningful practice, and noticed the payoffs come game time.
"Knowing that all the stuff we do before the game is important which gives you freedom in the game to play," he said. "I take practice and pregame stuff really seriously so that I build muscle memory so when I get in the game I just have fun and not over-think or worry about my swing or mechanics, or anything like that. [I] just go out and play, compete."
LANSING, MI - Kevin Pillar might be on the fast track to the Major Leagues with the way he's played thus far in his professional career, but right now his focus is on making improvements to his game and putting his best foot forward in Lansing.
Hard Work Paying Off For Pillar
A year ago Kevin Pillar wasn't considered one of the better prospects but he is now.
Lansing Beat Writer
Pillar hit .367 in the month of May
Jun 1, 2012