It’s October, which means it’s
playoff awards season. This morning, MLB announced the finalists for the 2019 Hank Aaron Award, which goes to the best offensive player in the American and National Leagues. And would you look at that, our very own Kevin Pillar is on the list!
Just… ignore the fact that every team gets a finalist.
Pillar either had a great season or a thoroughly mediocre one, depending on who you ask. According to advanced metrics, he was extremely okay, producing a subpar 1.4 rWAR in 600+ plate appearances with the Giants. By traditional stats, he thrilled the KNBR callers among us, easily leading the team in them sweet RBIs (87) and tying the team lead in home runs (21). More importantly, he just beat out fellow outfielder Mike Yastrzemski in the #RaceTo20HomeRunsInASingleSeason, which I guess is an accomplishment.
Still, in a year where Pillar figured out how to hack the arbitration system without actually being that great of a player, it’s a little odd that Pillar was selected as a finalist over Yastrzemski. By almost every measure, the 29-year-old rookie had the much more impressive season, at least offensively. Perhaps he didn’t qualify—Yastrzemski only had 411 plate appearances—but it doesn’t seem like the award has any specified qualifications. Maybe those sweet, sweet RBIs really did make all the difference.
Regardless, Pillar is up for consideration, and you can go vote for him. He won’t win—my guess is Cody Bellinger and his 9 rWAR get the nod—but it never hurts to show you appreciate a player’s performance.