Fuld is Making the Numbers Work for Him

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Since the Tampa Bay Rays assembled
their full squad back in mid-February, Rays outfielder Sam Fuld has
been on my “watch list”. Brought into the Rays fold via a trade
from the Chicago Cubs for Rays fire baller Matt Garza can be pressure
enough just to make the squad, but Fuld has seemed to be on some sort
of mission early on in this young 2011 season, or maybe it is just
part of his family linage.


Fuld comes from a family of high
achievers. His mother is a state Senator in the tiny state of New
Hampshire, his father a well respected member of academia as the Dean
of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of New Hampshire.
Fuld himself attended the brainiac Stanford University and interned
at Stats, Inc, which covers 85 International sports leagues
(including MLB) after his 2005 season with Peoria in the Midwest
League .

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Number have always seemed to follow
Fuld, who graduated with a degree in Economics and always seemed to
have calculations ans statistics with him, even at a young age. His
mother, Senator Amanda Merrill proudly said,


He didn’t carry
around the typical teddy bear or worn-down baby blanket when he was
young. He carried a book of numbers. He had a baseball stats book
with him all of the time, like a security blanket. He kept the
history of the game and numbers. That’s what he loved.”

Before Opening Day in 2011, Fuld has
spent only 140 days on a Major League Baseball roster, but this
Spring and in the early stages of the 2011 season, Sam Fuld is
showing everyone around the MLB why this spunky 5’10 ( yeah right)
spark plug has been watched with such anticipation. His determination
and strive to achieve well above his vertical stature has him right
now on a mantel with the Rays Republic.


Not even 8 games into the 2011 season
and Fuld has constantly shown defensive plays that astonish and
amaze. His “superman” leap towards a dying liner hit by Chicago
White Sox outfielder Juan Pierre with the bases loaded as a firm
example of the lengths Fuld will go to give his Rays a chance to
celebrate nightly.

Pierre, hit the ball into the perfect
spot for not only extra bases, but a possible inside-the-park Grand
Slam, but the breakneck speed of Fuld, and a perfectly timed leap
instead left most fans at home and the assembled masses in U S
Cellular Field bewildered. You know you have done something truly
amazing when the home team fans stand up and cheer your play.


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Statistically, Fuld should not of had
even a glove on that ball, but possibly being a fan of those same
numbers, Fuld knew the possibilities and still thrust himself
sideways on the Rightfield warning track region to bring in that
small white sphere.


Even after heading to the Rays dugout
after the conclusion of the bottom of the inning with Rays trainer
Paul Harker attending to his multiple scrapes and abrasions, the
magnitude of the moment probably had not hit Fuld yet. The play was
probably going to be the best defensive play not only for the Rays
but in the MLB so far in 2011, or until Fuld pulls off another daring
display of man versus gravity.

The wild part is so far in 2011, Fuld
has thrust himself also into the fold of the Rays Republic by making
defensive play after play early on this season, showing why Rays
Manager Joe Maddon and the staff selected him as the 25th
member of the Rays roster. I have a feeling Fuld never fretted about
the numbers game, he already knew his odds were good if he played “
his game”.

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Fuld’s incredible run at the numbers
continues as he has already stolen his fifth base, which leads the
American League and is tied with Diamondback Willie Bloomquist and LA
Dodger Matt Kemp for the MLB lead. With 5 steals in his first 8
games, Fuld has done something only 2 other Rays have ever done:
Former Rays OF Carl Crawford had an MLB leading 6 SB after 8 games in
2004, and SS Julio Lugo had an MLB high 5 SB after 8 games back in
2005. While Fuld has had 3 20 SB seasons in the minors, he had only 2
total steals in 98 games over 3 seasons for the Cubs.

Fuld has already hit three times in the
revered Rays lead-off spot, garnered 2 outfield assists, ans is
wearing the past uniform number of another swift Rays outfielder who
retired from his playing days this past Spring. Only negatives you
can find right now is early on his usual BB/K ratio has taken a hit
as Fuld currently has 3 BB and 3 K’s to his credit.


Over 5 of his past 6 professional
seasons, Fuld has usually totaled more walks than strikeouts. His
ratio of 66 Walks to 37 K’s last season at Triple-A Iowa was the
second best in all of Triple-A baseball. Fuld has only struck out
more than once in 7 of his 301 games.

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This might be the only part of his game
right now that begs for improvement, but considering Fuld is on his
first run through the American League, some adjustments might be in
order. Fuld has already provided some extreme bright spots for the
Rays so far in the 2011 season. Most might think his offensive game
needs tweaking, but his defensive format is perfect for the Rays.


Even during this White Sox series, Fuld
has seemed to be at precisely the right outfield position at the
right time to make a hard play seem simple, or even an amazing play
just jump off the page at you. Much like former Rays OF Rocco
Baldelli who did the same thing for so long in a Rays uniform wearing
the same number 5. Maybe Fuld does understand the numbers……Hmmm?

33 Comments

Interesting to read about Fuld’s background. That’s quite a pedigree he’s got! Hopefully he can prove to be a good fit for the Rays.

http://www.janeheller.com/confessionsblog

Jane,
So far he has proven to be a nice base stealing alternative, plus has made more than a few nifty defensive plays to keep himself in the Rays line-up.
Now all he needs is the Rays 2-3-4 hitters get some contact, then he will get the additional “stats” to have Fantasy owners take notice.

Rays Renegade

The guy looks like superman in the one photo. Wow. Get that kid a cape!

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

My heart my lie with my ChiSox, so you and I would have been at odds at the game this week, but I don’t have anything but praise for Fuld during this series. He’s definitely one to watch. I know I’ll be keeping my ears and eyes open as the season progresses. Great post.

My heart my lie with my ChiSox, so you and I would have been at odds at the game this week, but I don’t have anything but praise for Fuld during this series. He’s definitely one to watch. I know I’ll be keeping my ears and eyes open as the season progresses. Great post.

My heart my lie with my ChiSox, so you and I would have been at odds at the game this week, but I don’t have anything but praise for Fuld during this series. He’s definitely one to watch. I know I’ll be keeping my ears and eyes open as the season progresses. Great post.

My heart my lie with my ChiSox, so you and I would have been at odds at the game this week, but I don’t have anything but praise for Fuld during this series. He’s definitely one to watch. I know I’ll be keeping my ears and eyes open as the season progresses. Great post.

Jenn,
Got word there might be an old Rays kids promotion hanging in Fuld’s locker when he gets to Fenway……I knew that Rays “Superman-type cape would come in handy some day.

Rays Renegade

Keleighannah,
Got nothing but respect for ex-Ray player, current Head Sox Ozzie and his crew. They have always been a tough team to get leads off of, and victory have come in short supply at US Cellular Field.
I can tell you loved the classy move by the White Sox faithful of applauding Fuld’s attempt. In that other “Sox town”, they would have heckeld him for not catching it on his feet while sitting on their hands.
Stay classy Southside.

Rays Renegade

Oh I love smart guys that can play. All he needs is the glasses to look like Superman like Jenn said.
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

Emma,
Maybe I will try and find an extra pair of the promo Maddon thick black glasses (He went to a thinner pair this season).
Maybe I can get someone to monogram them with Fuld’s initials….customized so they do not get lost in the shuffle.

Rays Renegade

Fuld will be missed here in Chicago. He was just the odd man out in a situation with way too many outfielders. I’m glad he’s getting the chance to play everyday. He’s as hardworking a player as I’ve seen… and I will fondly remember his many daredevil plays in the outfield with the Cubs. Good luck Fuld. It was hard to see you go.
http://robsanto.mlblogs.com/

Robsanto,
Fuld already is doing the daredevil label justice. scraped up his entire forearm on that play Sat against Juan Pierre…Heck, if he was 2 inches taller, he would of robbed a Home Run off Beckham on Sunday…….Like his fire, and his ability to scoot around the bases.

Rays Renegade

I finally found the video, for your SuperFuld viewing pleasure. This was our very first glimpse of Sam as a September callup *BOUNCING* off of the bricks in Wrigley (9/22/2007).

http://mlb.mlb.com/media/player/mp_tpl_3_1.jsp?w=2007/open/tp/archive09/092207_pitchn_fuld_def_tp_350.wmv&pid=mlb_tp&gid=2007/09/22/pitmlb-chnmlb-1&mid=200709222223841&cid=mlb&fid=mlb_tp400&v=2&id=601089

Just as I was reading this, he laid out and made another diving catch at Fenway. Looks like the Rays are getting some much-needed offense tonight as well!
http://letsplay162.mlblogs.com/

Jeremy,
As I am writing this, Fuld just hit a triple……only needs a single for a cycle……
The Rays do not have to get “up” to play the Red Sox. They know every win puts the Red Sox another game back, or tonight, ties them again with the Rays in the cellar…with 2 to go….

Rays Renegade

I remember seeing him last year in Iowa. The fans there really seemed to like this guy, and why shouldn’t they have. He could be the spark plug the Rays need.
–Mike
‘Minoring In Baseball’
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

RobSanto,
*SIGH*
Plays like that are starting to look routine for him. Hope his dynamic plays doesn’t get stereotyped into his ” dramatics” being more important than his ” ability”
Would hate to have people label him a gimmick or showboat when he is truly hustling and doing his thing on the field.
Heck, even the ball he missed last night was just a touch out of his reach….Maybe if he was really 5’10″?

Rays Renegade

Sam Fuld is a great pick up. We kind of miss him with the Cubs.

—Mark Gauthier
http://cubden.mlblogs.com/

The Cubs love to give away good players… it’s their m.o.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

This post was spot on for last night’s game, too.

HR, triple, double… double… Lots more numbers to add to the list. He’s on a hot streak right now and it’s exciting to see.

This post was spot on for last night’s game, too.

HR, triple, double… double… Lots more numbers to add to the list. He’s on a hot streak right now and it’s exciting to see.

Why the Sigh, Renegade? :) I’m with you. He’s a great young player, and I wish we’d had a roster spot for him the last few years. I’m glad he’s got a place to play now, he was wasted in Iowa.

I saw a replay of that catch against Pierre – wow! But, ow, that’s gotta hurt!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

RobSanto,
Loved that VIDEO.
Always thought the IVY was tougher than that….Guess Fuld show it who’s da BOSS.
Seriously, the guy is a human highlight reel. Even the simple ones (like the last photo) seem to just pop out at you.

Rays Renegade

Mark,
We gave you guys the human “Duke Blue Devil”, complete with chin hair.
Heck, Fuld gave me his SPPD cap on Spring Training Opening Day…
That cap flew with me to San Francisco and did the I-10 roadtrip on my dashboard.
So I gotta like him…..right?

Rays Renegade

Excellent post on Fuld! I loved him with the Cubs and still love him with the Rays. He’s one of those players that I enjoy watching play.

Ron

http://strictlycubsbaseball.mlblogs.com/

Jeff,
Think the Cubs are the “impulse Shoppers” of MLB. Always seem to be looking either for a bargain, or a player who will take them to that next level.
Some have worked, some have been Fukedome’s

Rays Renegade

Every season the Rays have been able to put out a player or rookie who turns a few heads. The Rays actually had 2 of them on the field last night Fuld and starter Jeremy Hellickson.
By the end of the season, Hellickson might be the reason James Shields is on another team…just a hunch.
Other good Triple-A pitchers waiting impatiently in the wings.

Rays Renegade

RobSantos,
As much as I am also caught up in the Fuld maddness, his success will damper a Desmond Jennings or JUstin Ruggiano promotion.
Plus, I thought Chris Carter had a heck of a Spring, and Fuld beat him out….Tells you how much the Rays like Fuld.

Rays Renegade

Sue,
Even Superman had a few bumps and bruises, of course that was after he got spiked by Kryptonite. Fuld is the Rays “lunchpail” guy for 2011.
Brings his lunch to work and plans on staying all day…my kind of player.

Rays Renegade

Sue,
Even Superman had a few bumps and bruises, of course that was after he got spiked by Kryptonite. Fuld is the Rays “lunchpail” guy for 2011.
Brings his lunch to work and plans on staying all day…my kind of player.

Rays Renegade

Ron,
I just think Fuld is a stand-up guy. He is really good with the fans, plus had a nice group ( about 60 people) come down to Fenway and watch him play against the Red Sox….Got to love hometown support.

Rays Renegade

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