A wise man once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” But what if that box had only one kind of chocolate in it? Then what, Mr. wise man? Because sometimes I have a favorite and just want to binge it. That reminds me of my first year in NYC. The different seasons were cool and all, but why not be in a place where it’s spring 24/7? Like LA, for example. Yes, I’m a homer. If I want some snow, I can drive an hour and half. If I want to be in a sauna-like environment, well, I can go to a sauna. Anyways, there’s a place in life for both volatility and consistency. Take the readings on an EKG machine for instance. If there are no spikes and valleys, that means the poor soul hooked up is dead. When sine waves are present, there needs to be a consistent rhythm or, doctor, we have a problem. The same can be said for fantasy baseball. It’s a game inherently based on failure, so we look for players who provide spikes in production, at a relatively consistent rate. The higher and faster spikes are produced by the superstars sitting on the pantheon of the fantasy landscape. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many. Which brings me to the pillars of the game, those who don’t stand out from the crowd but provide production across the board to allow each fantasy house to stand firm and stable. Kevin Pillar of the Colorado Rockies is such a player, yet he’s been dropped in 10.2% of ESPN leagues over the past week. Is this Pillar crumbling or is he a Pillar of Destiny to bring fantasy glory?
Pillar is 31 years old, 6′ 0″, 210 pounds, and bats from the right side of the plate. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 32nd round of the 2011 MLB draft. He made it to the bigs in 2013 and played six years before being traded to the San Francisco Giants in 2019. He became a free agent after that season and signed with the Boston Red Sox before getting traded to the Colorado Rockies at the trade deadline.
During his first two seasons, he only appeared in 36 and 53 games respectively. The next five seasons, he appeared in over 140 games every season. Check out the chart below to see what a pillar Kevin was:
That ain’t bad, yo.
So far in 2020, he’s produced a .263/.314/.444 slash with 5 home runs, 26 runs, 20 RBI, and 3 stolen bases with a 6.4% walk rate, 18.6% strikeout rate, and .181 ISO. He was traded from BOS to COL on August 31st. Since then, he’s appeared in 12 games and produced a .233/.283/.372 slash with 1 home run, 6 runs, 7 RBI, and 2 stolen bases. The walk rate has been 6.5%, the strikeout rate has been 19.6%, and the ISO has been .140. Is this why fantasy owners have been dropping him?
I get it, as the season is almost done and there’s no time for patience. Plus, the Statcast numbers aren’t good. Pillar is in the 14th percentile for exit velocity, 36th for hard hit rate, and 26th for barrel percentage. But, but, but….
The BABIP has been .273, so some good fortune could be in the offering. Plus, the ending schedule for the Rockies looks mighty juicy. At the time of this writing, COL plays the next four at home, which is always a good thing. The opponent is the Dodgers, so that mitigates some of the euphoria, but it’s the next two series that make me giddy, even if they are both on the road. The Rockies end the year playing the Giants and Diamondbacks, two clubs with atrocious pitching. The Diamondbacks have the fourth-worst FIP (5.59) for starting pitching and the seventh-worst FIP (4.98) for relievers. The Giants? The starting pitching has been better with a 20th-worst FIP (4.33), but the bullpen has the fifth-worst FIP (5.17).
I hate his plate discipline, as the swinging strike rate is at 13.4% and he chases 42.2% of pitches outside the strike zone, but he’s always maintained a relatively high contact rate. This season it’s down at 85.3% in the strike zone, but it’s routinely been above 90% over the course of his career.
Pillar is batting fifth against right-handed pitching and third against lefties, so there will be plenty of opportunities for counting stats. Some runs, ribbies, home runs, and stolen bases should be in the offering to close out the season. He could be a Pillar of destiny for fantasy glory. TREASURE