Position: First Baseman
Height: 6′ 5″
’07 Midwest League All-Star
’08 Florida State League All-Star
’09 Eastern League All-Star
’08 Detroit Tigers Minor League Player of the Year
MiLB Career Stats:
.263 AVG /.352 OB% /.459 SLG /.811 OPS
112 doubles, 10 triples, 97 HR and 378 RBI
The Detroit Tigers selected Ryan Strieby in the 4th round of the 2006 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Kentucky.
Strieby played his first full season of pro ball in Class-A West Michigan, back in 2007. He posted a .253/.347/.422 line with 23 doubles, 2 triples, 16 home runs and 76 RBI. His performance earned him a spot on the Midwest League All-Star Team.
Strieby was promoted to the Advanced-A Lakeland Flying Tigers in 2008. I had the great pleasure of observing the majority of his games that season. The FSL is traditionally a rough environment for hitters. Simply put; it wasn’t for Ryan Strieby.
Strieby hit .278 and posted a .563 slugging percentage. Despite missing the final month of the season, Strieby hit a franchise record 29 home runs. He also recorded 19 doubles, 7 triples and 94 RBI that season. His breakout season earned him the 2008 Detroit Tigers Minor League Player of the Year Award.
Staying on the field was a bit of a challenge for Strieby in 2009. He was limited to just 86 games in AA-Erie, largely in part to nagging problems with his wrist. Strieby made it count though when he was healthy, posting an impressive .303/.427/.565 line. He also clubbed a home run every fifteen at bats (19 HR on the season).
The injury bug struck again in 2010, as Strieby managed to play in just 76 games for AAA-Toledo. Unlike the previous season, Strieby struggled heavily, posting a less-than-stellar .245/.323/.400 line.
Last season Strieby returned to the AAA-Toledo Mud Hens. Strieby was able to remain healthy for the majority of the season, playing in 130 games. He posted a .255 average with 28 doubles, 19 home runs and 76 RBI in 487 at-bats. Unfortunately, Strieby struck out 171 times (nearly 31% of the time).
Although the Tigers flirted with moving him to left field earlier in his career, Strieby is limited to first bass defensively. Despite lacking plus speed and range, Strieby actually holds his own at first base. He features decent footwork, soft hands and a strong accurate arm. Overall, Strieby has made great strides to polish his game defensively. The final product grades in the neighborhood of a tick above average.
Strieby is a below average runner on the base paths. While he lacks speed, his instincts and ability to read pitchers allow him to get decent jumps and swipe the occasional bag.
Staying healthy has been a bit of a task for Mr. Strieby. An injury to his wrist in ’08 has caused him to miss large chunks of time annually. Last season was a step in the right direction though as he was able to play in 130 games.
Strieby’s lone standout tool remains his plus to plus-plus raw power. When he’s dialed in, fully extended and getting the barrel of the bat on the ball, he’s able to routinely drive the ball with authority from pole to pole. Unfortunately his strikeout ratios have climbed annually from 15% in ’07 to nearly 31% in ’11. His sketchy approach and poor plate discipline have drastically hurt his value as a prospect. Regardless of his flaws, his raw power alone will continue to make him a person of interest down on the farm.
In a nutshell, Strieby feasts on mistakes and soft tossers. As the levels have increased he’s struggled with breaking balls and premium velocity. Several scouts predicted this in Strieby’s early years because of his mediocre bat speed and lack of knowledge of the strike zone.
This off-season has been a bit of a bumpy ride for Strieby. The Tigers removed him from their 40-man roster and designated him for assignment. Drawing absolutely no interest from teams around the league, Strieby both cleared waivers and survived the Rule 5 Draft. His removal from the 40-man roster is obviously a bit of a red flag. The Tigers appear to view him as more of a 4-A/Tweener than a legitimate prospect.
I suppose solid performance and a few injuries could punch his ticket to the big leagues. Realistically, Strieby will likely spend this season in AAA-Toledo auditioning for future clubs though. This will likely be a make a break year for the 26-year-old, as he becomes a minor league free agent following the 2012 season.