Minor League Ball Gameday, August 16

Kevin Pillar - John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo

Kevin Pillar discovers that playing in the major leagues is hard

Good afternoon prospect watchers. I hope your week has gone well. Let's get down to business.

***Yesterday's Minor League Ball Gameday thread. Good solid discussion yesterday. Let's keep that going.

***The Toronto Blue Jays promoted outfielder Kevin Pillar to the major league roster this week. He hasn't had an easy time of it in his first two big league games, going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts, which of course doesn't mean much of anything just yet, sample size and all. The last place Blue Jays aren't going anywhere this year and I hope they find enough at-bats for Pillar to prove himself one way or another.

He's certainly an unusual prospect, a 32nd round pick out of Cal State Dominguez Hills in 2011. He played well in college, posting a 54-game hitting streak in 2010 for example, but was under the radar for the most part and got just a $1,000 bonus. Guys like that are usually drafted as roster-filler/organization type players, but Pillar pushed his way past that status pretty quickly by hitting .321/.364/.466 in the minors, including .299/.341/.493 in Triple-A this year. He runs and throws well enough to play all three outfield positions and went 82-for-108 as a stealer in the minors.

Pillar profiles as a fourth outfielder if he keeps hitting, although since he is a right-handed hitter it is harder to slot him on the roster since he won't have the platoon edge in his favor.

***Down in the Gulf Coast League, the Minnesota Twins have a new prospect to watch: Australian left-hander Lewis Thorpe. Signed for $500,000 last summer, he's had no problems adapting to North America yet, posting a 2.45 ERA in 37 innings with a 49/5 K/BB ratio.

Listed at 6-1, 160 when signed, Thorpe was a mid-80s thrower but projected more velocity with maturity. That's already happening; recent reports have him in the 88-92 range. He throws strikes, and both the curveball and changeup are said to be improved from where he was a year ago. There's certainly nothing wrong with the numbers. He's only 17 and lots of things could happen here, but he's promising as a three-pitch potential starter.

***Question for the house: what do you prefer with the Gameday posts, broader comments about a couple of players like today, or smaller bullet-point things about a greater number of players?

***Today's schedule of minor league games.

***Jason Hunt looks at Colorado Rockies 2013 first-rounder Jonathan Gray.

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