Ian Krol | Bullpen | #46
2014 salary: MLB Minimum
2013 statistics: 3.95 ERA, 4.69 FIP, 27.1 IP, 5 HR, 8 BB, 22 K, 2.6 BB/9, 7.2 K/9
Projected role: LOOGY/Bullpen
Had Ian Krol been acquired under different circumstances, his reception in Detroit would have been ranged from “meh” to “seems decent enough”. However, Krol was 1/3 of the package the Tigers got from the Washington Nationals in return for SP Doug Fister. Krol, it seems, was acquired for the very specific purpose of replacing Drew Smyly in the bullpen, as the latter has moved into the rotation to fill the spot Fister used to occupy.
The Tigers will be hoping that Krol can replace the 2.6 WAR Smyly accumulated as the top lefty (and at times, top pitcher) in the Tigers pen last year. Smyly had a 2.367 ERA, paired with a 1.04 WHIP over his 76 innings of work last season. Of course, one could question whose task is bigger – Krol replacing Smyly or Smyly replacing Fister (4.1 WAR).
Ian Krol’s 2013 stats listed above only tell half the story – because they only represent a half season’s worth of games in the MLB. Krol worked his way up from AA with a short stop at AAA before appearing in 32 games for the Nationals. In AA, Krol clearly over-matched the opposition – sporting a minuscule ERA of .69 and a 2.51 FIP to go along 10.04 K/9 and a 2.42 BB/9. As his AAA stop consisted of 3.2 innings over 5 games, those stats are meaningless.
Over the last two years in the minors Krol has not had any trouble with Walks, a talent he also displayed while in Washington. If Krol keeps that up, he should prove to be quite useful for new manager Brad Ausmus (who hopefully create the same ire amongst fans as his predecessor did for his bullpen management). He features a decent fastball and a solid curve. Unlike with Smyly, there will be no temptation to move him out of the bullpen for use as a starter.