Ryan Strieby only played one season of baseball at the University of Kentucky, but what a season it was.
Strieby, a Brier resident who had previously honed his baseball skills at Mountlake Terrace High School before moving on to play two seasons at Edmonds Community College, made an immediate and significant splash at Kentucky in 2006 as a power-hitting first baseman. Statistically, his season was almost off the charts.
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Strieby started all 61 games for the Wildcats last year and batted .343. He amassed 22 doubles, 20 home runs, 77 RBI and 164 total bases, and had an on-base percentage of .473 and a whopping slugging percentage of .704.
His RBI total set a single-season record at Kentucky and was also the best 2006 mark for the Southeast Conference, as were his totals for doubles and his on-base and slugging percentages. He ended up third in the league in home runs.
Strieby was equally impressive in the field, where he committed just two errors all season, finishing with a dandy .997 fielding percentage.
For all his accomplishments, Strieby was justly rewarded. He was the SEC’s Player of the Year and a first-team All-SEC selection, a second-team Louisville Slugger All-America pick, and was named a first-team All-American by both Baseball America magazine and by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America.
His glowing achievements in his junior collegiate season also led the Detroit Tigers to draft Strieby in the fourth round of the 2006 major league draft. Strieby, who had previously been a 29th-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004, opted to sign with the Tigers and passed on his senior season at Kentucky.
Strieby was assigned by Detroit to the organization’s short-season Class A team in Oneonta, New York, a member of the New York-Penn League. His statistics there were more modest – a .241 batting average with four home runs and nine doubles – but were certainly acceptable for a rookie season of pro ball.
The Tigers promoted Strieby to Grand Rapids, Mich., of the Class A full-season Midwest League for this season and he is off to a terrific start, having already hammered two home runs in his first five games.