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Kevin Pillar belongs here

When Michael Saunders gets healthy, the Toronto Blue Jays will have a difficult decision to make in left field thanks to Kevin Pillar's hot start.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Pillar was called up and sent down multiple times last season to very little fanfare and even some frustration. In fact, he was so frustrated at getting pinch hit for late in a game by Anthony Gose against a right-handed pitcher that he threw his equipment down the dugout tunnel, which was definitely maybe related to his being sent down the next day. You can listen to Jeff Blair and Kevin Barker write off Pillar's future in baseball in a rage-inducing video here, as if his tantrum would relegate him to AAA forever. And maybe it felt that way for a bit. Of course, Pillar was called back up a month later -- just before rosters expanded -- and explained that it was "water under the bridge" to Blue Jays beat reporter Arash Madani.

Lucky for Alex Anthopoulos, Kevin Pillar stayed in the organization and attended spring training where he again was forced to answer questions about his 'hot-headedness' because of one incident. Despite being shelved briefly with one of the funniest spring training injuries in baseball -- a sneeze-induced oblique strain -- Pillar performed admirably, showing contact improvements at the plate. And, when Michael Saunders tore his meniscus in a sprinkler-related injury (I have made up neither of these), it seemed that Pillar would have to suffice in left field. Now, he has almost assuredly played himself into full-time platoon duty upon Saunders' return.

By no means is Pillar off to an Adrian Gonzalez-like start, but he has shown promise both with his glove and his bat. And, even if he was, this is an incredibly small sample size. Let's break it down:

Pillar has been forced to bat against left-handed pitching only five times. Historically, Pillar -- a right-handed hitter -- has performed his best against left-handed pitching. His splits last year, for instance, had Pillar at a 116 wRC+ against left-handers and a 74 wRC+ against right-handers. Well, splits be damned because Pillar is a righty killer now! Well... I shouldn't get ahead of myself. His approach seems to be much more effective. In 22 plate appearances against right-handers, Pillar has a 111 wRC+. Not bad at all, but what actually gives me pause are his strikeouts. A career 25 K% against right-handers, Pillar has struck out only one time this year. Some may say unsustainable, and I might not wholly disagree. But I would suggest approach change, and it's working. But enough words, let's watch!

This is Pillar robbing Chris Davis of a home run:

The roasting of the Baltimore Orioles continues with this throw from deep left centerfield to rob Adam Jones of extra bases:

The roasting of Adam Jones specifically continues with this nice diving grab:

And, for good measure, Steve Pearce is forced to learn no ball escapes leftfield, even foul ones:

The best part of all of this though, and the inspiration behind this article, was because of a certain coincidence. No sport better exemplifies the clustering illusion than baseball. I know this well. But one can't help but draw narrative-driven conclusions from Pillar's performance the other night. As you may remember, Steven Souza is quite good at playing defense. As the man that registered the 27th out in Jordan Zimmerman's no-hitter, his defense is what makes him famous, correctly or otherwise.

Steven Souza now plays for the Tampa Bay Rays, who just so happened to play spoiler for the Blue Jays in their home opener Monday night. Souza was patrolling right field and Jake Odorizzi was on the hill. Coincidentally, Odorizzi was 14 outs into his very own no-hitter when Kevin Pillar came up to bat and this happened:

I didn't make any of this up. Maybe I framed it to tell a narrative, but sometimes baseball just hands you the stories. As they say, random events cluster in ways that appear non-random.

. . .

All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.

Michael Bradburn is a Featured Writer for Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @mwbii. You can also reach him at