Kevin Pillar is the quintessential “hacker” at the plate. I know that may sound as a slight, but there are very few pitches outside the zone that Pillar won’t at least offer at.
While swinging at pitches way outside of the zone can quite often lead to weak contact or simply a strikeout, on occasion, hitters get rewarded for going after pitches well outside their wheelhouse.
For all the wild hacks that Kevin Pillar has taken this season, he does in fact get rewarded for putting balls in play that otherwise wouldn’t be.
Here are Kevin Pillar’s craziest swings which have landed for hits during the 2016 regular season and playoffs; including the highest and lowest swings, as well as inside and outside the zone.
Highest swing – 4.587 feet above the plate
October 4th off Chris Tillman
This one is still fresh in the mind of many, as this hack led to the eventual game-tying run in the Wild Card game against the Orioles on Tuesday. 95% of hitters would probably let that pitch go, but Pillar sat back and cranked to the opposite field for a double.
Notice how Pillar is nearly standing straight up when he makes contact with that pitch? The ball was practically at his armpit level and yet still managed to find a way to poke it into right field for a hit.
Lowest Swing – 0.71 feet above the plate
September 20th off Hisashi Iwakuma
This one was barely a half a foot off the plate, and yet Kevin Pillar leaned down and went after this offering from Hisashi Iwakuma. It was a 70 MPH curveball and the result of this hack was a double into left field.
Most Outside Swing – 1.804 feet off the plate
September 17th off Jose Alvarez
If you really want an idea or how far Pillar reaches for some pitches, just watch the Pitch Tracker blip when the pitch comes in. This one was close to two full feet off the plate – practically in the opposite batter’s box – and Pillar got wood on it and went opposite field.
Most Inside Swing – 1.278 feet off the plate
May 27th off Joe Kelly
Not only was this the most inside pitch that Kevin Pillar swung at this season, it was also pretty low as well. You don’t typically see right-handed hitters offer at these … it might even hit a player that tends to lean into the plate like Brandon Guyer.