Strieby has had a very up and down ride through the Tigers system, but it started on a high when he was picked in the fourth round after finishing the 2006 college season as the SEC Player of the Year.
Though a three-year college product (two years of JUCO-ball and one year at Kentucky), Strieby was still only 20-years old for the majority of his debut season in the New York-Penn League. With Oneonta Strieby stumbled to a .241/.319/.335 line and was quickly getting the reputation from scouts as a mistake hitter.
In 2007 he put up a solid performance in the offensively bereft Midwest League, notching a .253/.347/.422 line with 16 home runs and 23 doubles.
That type of production did not give an indication of what was about to come in 2008 when he tore apart the Florida State League before missing the final part of the season with a wrist injury. With Lakeland, Strieby crushed the ball, smoking 29 home runs in just 112 games and finishing the season with a monster .278/.352/.563 line.
Hitting Double-A Erie as a 23-year old in 2009, Strieby battled through the remnants of his wrist injury and still posted a .303/.427/.565 line in only 86 games as he went on and off the disabled list throughout the year. That line was backed up by a serious jump in his walk rate, along with 18 doubles and 19 home runs.
The wrist continued to bother Strieby all throughout the 2010 season at Toledo, as he played in only 76 games and never could actually get on track; posting a modest .245/.323/.400 line.
The discussion on Strieby begins and ends with his massive raw power. When he was healthy in 2009, some scouts through 70-raw power out there, but most were slightly more modest with 60 and 65 grades. He has a good enough approach that he may be able to actualize most of that power in games.
For a big man, Strieby has good barrel awareness and an ability to make contact. He recognizes pitches quite well and doesn't regularly chase pitches out of the strike zone. He knows what pitches he can drive, and looks for them.
Strieby is a below average runner though he's not a base clogger. He actually reads pitchers pretty well and knows when to try and take an extra base.
Though the Tigers have tried Strieby in left field, and tried to be publicly optimistic about the results of the move, he is not an outfielder. He is surprisingly athletic for his size, but he doesn't read balls well off the bat and his speed is a hindrance once he actually breaks on the ball. He has a strong arm that would play in left field.
As a first baseman, Strieby moves pretty well around the bag and his size and reach gives him acceptable range. He isn't the best at picking low throws, but he has improved. Overall he is an average defender.
Healthy is obviously the biggest concern for Strieby, and it will determine if he actually gets the big league shot his bat suggests he deserves. He could probably play first base and hit enough for a second division club or be a very nice bench bat on a championship caliber team.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% AAA
Strieby's left wrist was still problematic at the end of last year, actually keeping him from participating in the Arizona Fall League. Early reports out of spring training are that he has regained strength and isn't suffering from any abnormal soreness. Though that is good news at this time, this injury has been in the picture for nearly two and a half years at this point, and until he proves over the course of a season that it is behind him, questions will continue to linger.
Strieby is destined for Triple-A Toledo again in 2011, and unless there are injuries to either Victor Martinez or Miguel Cabrera in Detroit, his prospects for a big league job are limited in the short term.
If the Tigers were in need of additional pop from their bench, Strieby could provide that this year, but his most significant value to the organization may be as a potential trade chip if he starts hitting with authority and is able to play every day again.
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