Ian Krol came crashing back to earth in 2017 and may have run out of chances with the Atlanta Braves.
What were the expectations?
Krol began the 2017 season positioned as a key piece of Atlanta’s bullpen. He put up a career-best effort in 2016 posting a 3.18 ERA and a 2.91 FIP in 63 games, making good on what was initially thought to be a wholly underwhelming return for Cameron Maybin. Krol posted a career-best strikeout rate and walk rate and was able to keep the ball in the yard at a good clip. Krol was worth 0.9 fWAR 2016 and figured to play a prominent part out of the bullpen in 2017.
Ian Krol 2017 Projections/Stats
|Ian Krol (ZiPs)||2||2||3.77||68||59.7||9.80||3.32||3.75||0.3|
|Ian Krol (Steamer)||3||3||3.36||55||55.0||9.73||3.54||3.44||0.5|
|Ian Krol (Actual)||2||2||5.33||51||49.0||8.08||3.86||5.01||-0.2|
Krol was tagged for three runs in just a 1/3 of an inning on Opening Day, which pretty much perfectly set the tone for what was to come. His strikeout rate dipped from 25.8 percent to 20.6 percent while his walk rate jumped from 6.0 percent to 9.8 percent.
In 2016, Krol’s ground ball rate was 56 percent. That dropped all the way to 41 percent in 2017. More baserunners and more hard hit fly balls proved to be bad news. You could pick pretty much any stat, and Krol looked terrible by it in 2017. His 2017 season is best remembered as a cautionary tale for when anyone thinks any reliever is a good bet to be a quality contributor in any given season.
The Braves outrighted Krol to Gwinnett on October 19 removing him from the 40-man roster. He then elected to become a free agent.