Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Krol joined the Tigers out of Wichita State in 2007 as a 17th round draft choice. Noah split time between shortstop and the mound while in College, before becoming a pitcher exclusively last year. As a junior for the Shockers, he managed a .247 batting average in 53 games, while hitting six doubles and two home runs. On the mound, he made 18 appearances out of the bullpen, notching 20 strikeouts in only 21-1/3 innings of work. As a senior in 2007, Noah started 14-games at shortstop, as his transition to the mound continued. In those games at shortstop, he was only able to muster a .163 average and no extra-base hits. On the mound however, Krol was dominating, striking out 49 hitters in 34-1/3 innings, en route to 12 saves.
Prior to joining the Wichita State program, Krol starred for the Hutchinson Community College Dragons. In two seasons at Hutch, Noah managed a 5-2 record on the mound, and 33 strikeouts in 34-2/3 innings pitched. In the field, he managed a .293 average as a freshman, and then excelled as a sophomore with a .345 average, 12 home runs, 50 RBI, and nine stolen bases.
During his debut professional season, Noah was again dominating on the mound; serving as the Oneonta Tigers closer he posted a league leading 17 saves in 28 appearances, with an equally impressive 2.20 ERA and over 12 strikeouts per nine innings. His dominating performance in the New York-Penn League earned him a surprise trip to the Arizona Fall League, where he had moments of brilliance, and moments of struggle. Overall, Krol managed a 6.30 ERA in the AFL, with 13 strikeouts and nine walks in ten innings of work.
He is a fine athlete whose background as an infielder is extremely evident in his actions around the mound, and the reaction time he has on plays in his area. He fields his position exceptionally well for a reliever, and understands his responsibilities on all plays. He needs to improve his ability to hold runners and control the running game, but that should come with more extensive experience. He is a heady player with the determination required to succeed in the late innings.
Krol has an excellent fastball-slider combo that enables him to garner strikeouts and groundouts with ease. His fastball sits comfortably at 89-91, and can touch 93 once in a while. He typically commands the pitch well to both sides of the plate and is able to elevate it for strikeouts with regularity. His slider is a true plus pitch, and probably the best in the system. He can work it to both sides of the plate, and bury it in the dirt as a swing and miss offering. Working both pitches at the knees routinely enabled him to amass a groudball:flyball ratio of nearly 4:1 at Oneonta.
Krol's stuff is classic late inning stuff with a sneaky quick fastball and an excellent slider that keeps hitters from squaring him up during the game's crucial moments. Krol is an advanced player, and despite his relatively low draft round, he could become an interesting relief option for a Major League team.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG SS-A
Krol has not suffered any significant injuries to date, and his fine athleticism allows him to repeat his mechanics well. He hasn't had a terribly extensive workload to date and his arm should be fresh and ready for work in the coming seasons.
Krol will enter spring training with a chance to head as high as Lakeland right off the bat. His advanced feel for pitching and dominating stuff should allow him to move quickly through the system. The likely scenario involves him starting the year with West Michigan for his full-season debut, and possibly seeing time in Lakeland before the end of the campaign.
The Tigers handling of an equally dominant Brett Jensen will be a very good indicator as to how aggressively we can expect them to promote Krol. The Tigers are very protective of their minor league relievers usage, and I expect the same to continue as Krol establishes himself in the system.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.