2011 TigsTown Awards: Toledo Mud Hens

The time has come to hand out the hardware for those players that excelled in 2011 at each minor league stop. Next up on the TigsTown Awards, despite a revolving door in the clubhouse, the Toledo Mud Hens had quite a few players excel for the club.

Toledo Mud Hens Player of the Year: 1B Ryan Strieby















It's been a long four years for Strieby. After exploding to rip 29 home runs for Lakeland in 2008, he suffered a wrist injury that basically cost him over two years of healthy play. Playing in only 86 and 76 games in 2009 and 2010, respectively, Strieby mustered just 29 homers between the two years. In 2011, Strieby was finally healthy again, seeing action in 130 games for Triple-A Toledo. With health came improved performance for the hulking first baseman as Strieby blasted 19 home runs and 28 doubles, ranking 9th and 17th in the league, respectively. Strieby finished the year with a solid .255/.341/.429 line in a year where his consistent power threat helped balance a Toledo lineup that was constantly in flux due to needs in Detroit.

Toledo Mud Hens Pitcher of the Year: LHP Duane Below















A local product from Britton, Michigan, Below turned in a very strong season with Toledo and has spent considerable time pitching for the home town Tigers this summer. Having not pitched in Triple-A since July, Below finished his minor league time with a 3.13 ERA and 9-4 record in 18 starts. He improved his ERA every month he was with Toledo, dropping from 3.63 in April, to 3.54 in May, 3.09 in June, and then a sparkling 1.80 in July. Across 115 innings with the Hens this season, Below allowed only 99 hits and 37 walks while striking out 83 hitters. In his first big league exposure, Below was solid, posting a 4.34 ERA over 14 games.

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