Kevin Pillar turning into story of 2024 MLB season is something Angels badly needed

Where would the Angels be without Kevin Pillar?
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Kevin Pillar
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Kevin Pillar / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Angels essentially threw a life preserver to Kevin Pillar earlier this season. The Halos were desperate for help in the outfield after three-time MVP Mike Trout landed on the injured list following knee surgery and picked up Pillar off waivers.

Pillar had just been designated for assignment by the lowly Chicago White Sox. There probably aren't many other situations in Major League Baseball that could be more depressing for a player — if the White Sox don't want you anymore, who else would?

Enter the Angels, who more than anything else just needed a body. LA had already parted ways with the struggling Aaron Hicks, and Pillar seemed like little more than a stopgap until either Trout returned from the IL or another young outfielder from the Angels' farm system emerged. But Pillar has been the Angels best player since, well, he arrived.

Kevin Pillar turning into story of 2024 MLB season is something LA Angels badly needed

On Tuesday night in Houston, Pillar crushed yet another big fly for the Angels to break a 4-4 tie in the top of the seventh inning. Unfortunately Pillar's blast wasn't enough to keep the Halos ahead, and LA eventually lost in extra innings. But Pillar has done everything in his power to attempt to bring the Angels back from the brink this season.

Pillar is hitting .442/.467/.744 with three round-trippers and 16 runs batted in since joining the Angels after a paltry .160/.290/.360 slash line with the White Sox. Is Pillar's recent outburst sustainable? History would suggest otherwise, but in a season filled with so much frustration, it's a great story for Angels fans to follow.

With all the teams in the AL West struggling this season, the Angels' 19-29 record isn't a death sentence. LA is just seven games back of the division-leading Seattle Mariners, and while spirits aren't high throughout the Angels' fanbase, the success of a journeyman like Pillar is something worth keeping an eye on.

Who knows? If Trout returns and the starting rotation continues to put forth good efforts, maybe the Halos can work their way back into the AL West chase. The bullpen still needs a lot of work, but let's focus on one thing at a time. At the moment, just enjoy the show that Pillar is putting on.

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