Three months after the three-way trade with Oakland and Seattle that sent Michael Morse to the Mariners, Jon Jaso to the A's and three Athletics' pitching prospects back to Washington, Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo defended the trade when a caller asked during an interview on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. if the general manager regretted making the deal.
"We got three power arms for (Morse) that are going to help us in the near-future," the fifth-year Nats' GM explained. "[Blake] Treinen is in Double-A throwing extremely well, up to 97-98 mph. A.J. Cole is really starting to take the next step. He'll end up in Double-A this year. Treinen will end up in Triple-A and Ian Krol is a reliever in Double-A at (22)-years-old, who is a power lefty who has, I think he's got a (1.10) ERA in Double-A."
Krol, who turned 22 on May 9th of this season, was a 2009 7th Round pick by Oakland out of Naperville, Illinois and Neuqua Valley High School. The 6'1'', 180 lb left-hander was named Oakland's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010 after a strong season in which he was (9-4) with a 2.65 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 1.44 BB/9 and 6.90 K/9 in 24 games, 23 starts and 118.2 IP for the Class-A Kane County Cougars and (1-0) with a 3.66 ERA, 4.67 FIP, 4.12 BB/9 and 9.15 K/9 in four starts and 19.2 IP for the High-A Stockton Ports.
The left-hander missed a good deal of the 2011 with a forearm injury and was then suspended for some well-documented offensive Tweets that led to the A's sitting him down for two months.
Krol was (2-9) in two stops in the A's organization in 2012, with a (1-7) record, 5.21 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 2.50 BB/9 and 8.24 K/9 in 21 games, 15 starts and 86.1 IP with the High-A Stockton Ports and a (1-2) record with a 5.06 ERA, 1.89 FIP, 1.69 BB/9 and 8.44 K/9 in eight games and 10.2 IP in a relief role with the Double-A Midland Rockhounds. Krol's first season in the Nationals' organization began at Double-A Harrisburg where he had a 0.69 ERA, 2.51 FIP, seven walks (2.42 BB/9) and 29 Ks (10.04 K/9) for the Senators before he was called up on Tuesday in a flurry of moves by the Nationals.
Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo explained the decision to call Krol up somewhat unexpectedly when he spoke to reporters including the Washington Post's James Wagner at Nationals Park earlier this week. "'Ian Krol in Double-A has really shown that he has good stuff and the mental makeup to throw the ball over the plate,'" Rizzo said, "and good stuff and the ability to get out both right-handers and left-handers made him a real interesting option for us."
In his weekly appearance on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Mike Rizzo Show with Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier, Rizzo described Krol as, "... a power left-handed pitcher who attacks the strike zone and has shown very little fear about throwing the ball over the plate with two plus pitches." Krol, ".. really performed admirably at the Double-A level," the Nats' GM said, "When we were looking for out left-handed replacement for Zach [Duke] it was clear that this was the guy that had to be the guy [we] brought up."
"Ian was the 2010 Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the Oakland A's," Rizzo continued, "He was a starter his whole career. We had scouted him extensively since high school when he was in high school in Naperville, Illinois. Scouts knew him well. He's a power pitcher. He has a 92-95 mph fastball, and he throws the ball over the plate and he's not afraid."
In his MLB debut last night, Krol showed little fear when facing the New York Mets. After giving up a leadoff double by Omar Quintanilla on a 95 mph full-count fastball, Krol struck the next three batters he faced out. Daniel Murphy K'd swinging through a 92 mph 3-2 heater. David Wright was punched out on a check-swing strike three on a high 94 mph four-seamer. Lucas Duda couldn't catch up with a 96 mph 1-2 fastball. Krol's MLB debut ended after 23 pitches, 13 of them strikes.
"I was just trying to go out there and throw strikes," Krol told reporters after the Nats' loss to NY. "A little different with the big league balls, but front side was flying open with my curve ball, but other than that it felt great. Just trying to pound the zone." The left-hander admitted he was a little nervous. "I didn't take a breath until about the seventh inning," he joked, "But the whole scenery, just everything, just different, just crazy."