Doesn’t Get Tougher Than Kevin Pillar

On May 17, Kevin Pillar was hit directly in the face by a Jacob Webb fastball. According to Baseball Savant, the pitch was 94.5 MPH.

The pitch literally left him bloodied and broken. The grounds crew would need to clean up and soak up all the blood off the field. Pillar would suffer multiple nasal fractures requiring surgery.

When dangerous moments like this happen, you wonder about a player’s career. It’s not just whether the injury will let them ever play again. It’s also a matter of the mental impact.

But, Pillar is built different. Literally two weeks after he took a fastball to the face, he was activated off the IL. He had a face mask for the field and a C flap on his batting helmet.

In his first at-bat, he let us know about the impact this will have. After a standing ovation, he had a pinch hit single.

In and of itself, this is astonishing. Pillar had a scary injury, and he was not only able to return to the lineup much sooner than expected, but he was able to stand in the box and deliver a base hit.

What makes this all the more incredible is this wasn’t the first time it’s happened to Pillar in his career. In fact, it happened to him TWICE before this season.

In 2016, while a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, Pillar was hit in the bill of the helmet by a Joe Kelly pitch. Not only would he avoid the IL entirely, but he’d also stay in the game.

In 2019, while a member of the San Francisco Giants, Pillar was hit in the face with a 97 MPH fastball by Dinelson Lamet. Despite being struck square on the jaw in the first inning, he stayed in the game and avoided the IL all together.

Some of us are just built different. Pillar has the ability to stand in there and play his normal game despite getting hit with pitches which would’ve understandably ended other player’s careers.

Pillar not only has the ability to heal fast, but he has the mental toughness to get back in there. Seeing him do this multiple times, you can only conclude there isn’t anyone tougher than him.