Erie SeaWolves Player of the Year: 1B/OF Ryan Strieby
.303/.427/.565, 18 2B, 19 HR, 58 RBI
Ryan Strieby absolutely killed the ball when he was healthy this year. Unfortunately, the big slugger only amassed 86 games for the Seawolves as he continued to deal with ongoing wrist problems that started late last year in Lakeland. After breaking out with 29 home runs and an outstanding overall performance in Lakeland in 2008, Strieby continued to mash his was up prospect charts this year. Through his 86 games, Strieby ripped the ball to the tune of a .303/.427/.565 line. Strieby's .303 batting average would have ranked sixth in the league had he accumulated enough at-bats to qualify, while his .427 OBP would have ranked second, and his .565 slugging average would have easily paced the league. As it stands, Strieby finished tied for fourth in the Eastern League in home runs. With Miguel Cabrera
currently entrenched at first base in Detroit, Strieby even spread his wings this summer and began experimenting with playing left field, an endeavor some scouts believe he can handle long term. If Strieby's wrist is in order for the start of the 2010 season, he could be knocking on the door to Detroit before summer's first official day.
Erie SeaWolves Pitcher of the Year: RHP Zach Simons
1-2, 2.82 ERA, 50 K, 21 BB, .209 BAA
Simons did so much in the second half of 2008 at Lakeland and in the Arizona Fall League that the Tigers decided to add him to the 40-man roster to ensure he would be around for the 2009 season. Simons made that faith pay off, as the right-hander put together a very strong season at Erie. He totaled a 2.82 ERA over 31 appearances, including notching three saves without actually serving as the team's official closer. In 51 innings, Zach allowed only 39 hits and 21 walks, while striking out 50 Eastern League hitters. Simons was so successful with Erie this season, that he also earned time at Triple-A Toledo, where he compiled a 3-0 record and 2.45 ERA in eleven outings for the Hens. His 2009 Erie numbers were boosted by a fantastic stretch in June where he struck out 20 and gave up just eight hits in 15 1/3 innings, while limiting opposing hitters to a .143 batting average against. Without a doubt, Simons' 2009 performance has put him in what should be a very competitive battle for bullpen jobs in Detroit next year.