TigsTown Awards: Toledo Mud Hens

With a strong lineup and an even stronger track record the past few years, the Toledo Mud Hens had high hopes for reaching the International League playoffs and beyond. Call-ups hindered the Toledo roster, but plenty of 'Hens still had big years. Who had the biggest?

Toledo Mud Hens Player of the Year: OF Brent Clevlen
Yet again, Brent Clevlen has put together a fine season worthy of acclaim, this time just in the nick of time to possibly earn him a spot on the 2009 Tigers roster since he is now out of options. Clevlen ripped 23 doubles for the ‘Hens this summer, and supplemented that with 22 bombs, despite playing only 126 games. The home run total tied him for ninth in the International League, and second on the team (behind Mike Hessman's 34). Brent also finished among the league leaders in RBI (82), total bases (236), walks (54), strikeouts (166), on-base percentage (.358), slugging (.496), and OPS (.854). His full set of tools was in display for observers in 2008, as he also showed very good defensive instincts and a very strong arm from the outfield. With an injury to outfielder Clete Thomas, and uncertainty surrounding Marcus Thames' future in Detroit, Brent could find himself in line for a job as a bench player in Detroit to start 2009.

Toledo Mud Hens Pitcher of the Year: RHP Chris Lambert
The completion of the Mike Maroth trade seemed innocuous enough. It was nifty to see Lambert strike out ten in his lone start for Toledo in 2007, but that wasn't expected to be a preview of his 2008 season. Then things clicked for Lambert this spring, and he absolutely took off; finally starting to resemble the first round pick the Cardinals saw several years ago. In 26 starts for the ‘Hens in 2008, Lambert managed a 12-8 record including three complete games. He walked the fewest batters per nine innings of his professional career, and saw a rebound in his strikeout rates; notching 124 in 149 1/3 innings of work. His 12 wins tied him for sixth in the International League, while his 3.50 ERA was good enough for fifth in the circuit. Lambert managed to make the league leader board in several other categories as well, tying for first in complete games, tying for ninth in innings, ranking tenth in starts, eighth in punch outs, and tenth in WHIP. Lambert's fine season and improved stuff and control have him on the radar as a possible Detroit Tiger in 2009.


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