Athletics' Krol Wins Midwest League ERA Title In Debut





Best Player: Shortstop Grant Green had always been an inside-out hitter with Southern California, knocking the ball to right and center. But the Athletics wanted their 2009 first-round pick to rework his swing so he could add more power to his game.

Green responded with aplomb for high Class A Stockton, batting .318/.363/.520 with 20 homers and 39 doubles in 548 at-bats. The A's believed Green could develop power when they drafted him 13th overall in 2009, but even they were surprised it developed so quickly.a

Farm director Keith Lieppman said that Green began his career with a professional outlook. "The consistency is what I notice," he said. "I see it in his daily routine, his batting practice, his work ethic. Everything that you would sort of expect from a more seasoned guy, not a first-year player."

Green also progressed on defense and projects to play up the middle, either at second base or short.

Best Pitcher: Scouting director Eric Kubota so liked lefthander Ian Krol that he kept going after him, even when negotiations did not seem to be progressing with last year's seventh-round pick.

Krol spent most of his debut season with low Class A Kane County and went 9-4, 2.65 with a 0.99 WHIP in 24 appearances. He led the Midwest League in ERA, WHIP and fewest baserunners per nine innings (9.2). In a four-start finish with Stockton, Krol fanned 20 in 20 innings.

"He's able to consistently pitch ahead in the count," Lieppman said. "He's extremely aggressive with a tremendous mound presence and a competitive edge about him. When hitters face him, they know they're in for a battle."

The 6-foot-1 lefty sits in the low 90s and his changeup could become a plus pitch. To ease the transition to pro ball, Krol lived at home with his parents in Naperville, Ill., while playing for Kane County.

Keep An Eye On: During last year's instructional league, Steve Parker demonstrated that he had the capacity to learn quickly and develop fast. Specifically, he made major improvements at third base and started adjusting to the wood bat.

Those developments continued this season when he moved to Stockton and hit .296/.392/.508 with 21 homers and 98 RBIs in 524 at-bats.

A's ACORNS

• Stockton catcher Ryan Ortiz, a sixth-round pick from Oregon State in 2009, was considering surgery for his ailing right shoulder. He was limited to 58 games on the year, none after July 28, but he showed promise in batting .277/.394/.479 in 188 at-bats.

• Triple-A Sacramento's Chris Carter suffered a sprained thumb at the end of August and missed the final 10 days of the season. He clubbed 31 home runs during the regular season and one more in the Pacific Coast League playoffs.