NOAH KROL
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
Born: June 6, 1984
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 185
Bats: Both
Throws: Right
Signed: 17th Round, 541st Overall, 2007
How Acquired: Minor League FA
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Krol got off to a good start for the Tigers and looked like a decent relief prospect, but he opened 2009 in extended spring training due to some sort of injury problems and ended up being released before he ever played.  The Pirates must have signed him, although I never saw it in any transactions listing, because he pitched in the GCL Pirates’ 2009 opener.  Krol throws sidearm, with a fastball that’s in the mid-80s and a sweeping breaking ball that runs in the mid-70s.  Despite the sidearm motion, he hasn’t had a platoon split so far as a pro.  He’s a groundball pitcher, with groundout to air out ratios usually over 2.0, and he hasn’t allowed many HRs.  The Pirates no doubt knew about him through scouting director Greg Smith, who was in Detroit when Krol was drafted.  He’s served as a closer most of his career.

2007
A-:  0-0-17, 2.20 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 28.2 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 12.2 K/9

Closed games for Tigers’ short season affiliate, with 17 saves in just 28 outings and a very high K rate.

2008
A:  4-3-15, 3.93 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 50.1 IP, 5.0 BB/9, 8.8 K/9

Was the closer in low A, with a little less success due to control problems.  He held opposing hitters to a .214 average, but ended up with a mediocre ERA due to walks.

2009
R:  0-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, 1 IP, 0.0 BB/9, 0.0 K/9
A:  5-0-2, 2.92 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 37 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
A+:  1-1-0, 1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 5 IP, 1.8 BB/9, 7.2 K/9

After a tuneup in rookie ball, the Pirates sent Krol to West Virginia.  For the only time in his career he did not serve as closer.  He got hit harder than in the past, with a .269 opponents’ average, but his control was much better.  The Pirates moved him up to Lynchburg at the end of the year, probably to strengthen the Hillcats’ bullpen for the playoffs.

2010
A+:  5-6-34, 3.08 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 64.1 IP, 3.9 BB/9, 6.7 K/9

Krol returned to high A as the closer, this time for the Pirates’ new affiliate in Bradenton.  He limited hitters to a .212 average, but his walk and K rates weren’t impressive.

2011
AA:  3-5-24, 4.45 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 54.2 IP, 3.1 BB/9, 4.6 K/9

Krol served as the closer for Altoona and was not effective, blowing a number of late-inning leads.  His numbers slipped across the board as his stuff wasn’t sufficient for AA.  His K rate was especially weak.  Despite the sidearm motion, right-handed hitters batted .299 against him.  His groundout to air out ratio (1.75) slipped below 2-to-1 for the first time.

I’ve always wondered why many teams prefer to have non-prospects serve as closers for their minor league teams.  As Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington has expressly stated, teams will have minor leaguers do a lot of things, like bunt and attempt steals excessively, to gain the experience.  Considering the excessive mystique that’s come to surround pitching the ninth innings, you’d think teams would want their pitching prospects, or at least the ones who might end up as relievers, to gain that experience.  I especially wonder when I see a guy like Krol having a mediocre season yet remain the closer all year long, as he did in 2011.  In any event, he’s been eligible for the Rule 5 draft the last two years and hasn’t been selected.  Krol will probably head back to Altoona in 2012.  He won’t be eligible for minor league free agency for a couple more years.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2012: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2007
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2013
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 7, 2007: Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 17th round, 541st overall pick; signed on June 21.
June 20, 2009: Released by the Detroit Tigers.
June 26, 2009: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a free agent.