From Out of the Blue

Ryan Strieby’s 2008 performance has taken a lot of people by surprise.

The Detroit Tiger’s fourth round selection in 2006 had an off-season in his first full year in 2007 in A-ball with a line of .253/.347/.422 with 16 homers in 443 at-bats. There were signs that improvements could be coming with 63 walks and just 78 strikeouts. He also had a .275 BABIP.

No one, though, would have predicted a .140 jump in slugging percentage with a promotion to the pitcher-friendly Florida State League in 2008. Strieby has been immensely powerful in the last month and a half (157 at-bats) with 19 homers. Overall, he currently has 29 in 421 at-bats, along with a line of .278/.352/.563. His power has come at a cost, as he has now struck out 101 times (Up seven percent from 2007) and walked just 46 times (Down about three percent).

The Detroit Tigers have one of the worst systems in baseball and Strieby’s season has put him near the top of the organization’s prospect list despite the inconsistencies throughout his career. The right-handed slugging first baseman is not unlike fellow Tigers’ prospect and left-handed hitter Jeff Larish, who had a line of .267/.390/.515 with 28 homers in 454 at-bats one level higher at Double-A in 2007.

If Strieby’s power surge is for real, and he can continue to hit .260-.280, he could potentially pair with Larish in the Majors in late 2009.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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