After a relatively strong half-season at High A Potomac, RHP A.J. Cole has been promoted to the Double A Harrisburg Senators.
Cole’s numbers in 2013 don’t jump off the page: he had a 4.25 ERA in 97.1 IP. He allowed more home runs and hits than one would like, at 1.1 and 8.9 per nine innings respectively, but his peripheral stats were good: he had a 4.43 K/BB ratio. He will make his Senators debut Thursday against the Portland Sea Dogs.
The Nats drafted Cole in 2010 from Oviedo High School in Oviedo, FL. He signed a then-record $2 million bonus as a fourth rounder to forgo his commitment to the University of Miami and head to the pros. He spent 2011 with the Low-A Hagerstown Suns, recording a 4.04 ERA. After the 2011 season, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics as the centerpiece of the Gio Gonzalez trade that December. Baseball America ranked him their 57th-best prospect before the 2012 season. However, he struggled at High A with the A’s, with a 7.82 ERA in eight starts. In a return to Low A he dominated, with a 2.07 ERA in 19 starts.
Despite being set back a year in his movement, the Nats still had enough faith in him to reacquire him as a part of the three-team Michael Morse deal. The Nats sent Morse to the Mariners, who sent catcher John Jaso to Oakland. Oakland sent Cole, RHP Blake Treinen (3.72 ERA in 109 IP at Harrisburg this season), and a player to be named later to the Nats. That PTBNL turned out to be LHP Ian Krol. Krol had a 5.21 ERA as a starter at High A in 2012 for the A’s, and a 5.06 ERA as a Double A reliever. But as a full-time reliever in 2013 with the Nats, he had a 0.69 ERA at Harrisburg in 21 appearances and earned a callup. He has now become integral to the Nats’ bullpen, with a 2.20 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in 16.1 IP.