The Giants probably signed their most interesting minor league contract of the winter, in the person of 38 year old reliever Marc Kroon.
- Kroon started out as a flame-throwing prospect for the Mets, and ran all the gamut of flame-throwing prospect problems: home runs, walks and Tommy John surgery.
- He has spent the last few years in Japan, where he was briefly teammates with Edgardo Alfonzo.
- He currently owns the NPB record for fastest pitch, having hit 100 back in 2005.
- He still throws hard, as evidence by this pitch-data chart from NPB-tracker. It looks like he hovers around 94-95.
- He averaged 12.4 K/9 in Japan.
This is my favorite kind of minor league contract. Kroon still has the stuff to get major league hitters out, and if he’s truly tamed his walk and home run problems he could be a very useful part of the bullpen. If that happens, we would also be witnessing a guy who struggled for such a long time taste a bit of MLB success (not that he hasn’t had any success in Japan).