The legend of Sam Fuld is growing faster than the legend of Chuck Norris. You know, “Every night before bed, the boogeyman checks his closet for Chuck Norris,” is becoming a little weak compared to, “Sam Fuld has only been thrown out at home plate once – by Sam Fuld.”
Fuld is a great story about a diabetic kid from New Hampshire who became a Major League Baseball player. A man that doesn’t quite reach his 5’10” team roster listing, Fuld is a gamer.
His stat line for his three seasons with the Chicago Cubs reads like a guy who was destined for a career as a late inning defensive replacement outfielder. In 98 games with the Cubs, Fuld amassed 131 at-bats and compiled a .252/1HR/5RBI line. Not the stuff you build your team around, which is probably why the Cubs agreed to throw him in to the Matt Garza trade completed over the winter.
With lefties Kosuke Fukudome and Tyler Colvin ahead of Fuld on the depth chart, the Cubs were looking for a taker for the out of options Fuld. When the Rays came a-calling with an offer to swap Fernando Perez for Fuld as part of the Garza deal, it looked like a perfect fit – for Chicago. How quickly things have changed.
Fuld fit nicely as a defensive replacement for Manny Ramirez in the late innings for Tampa Bay. But with Ramirez’ sudden retirement, Fuld found himself the benefactor of a golden opportunity. And boy has he taken advantage of it.
Fuld currently stands at .346/1/8 with 13 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even included in our pre-season projections because he wasn’t supposed to find 250 at-bats on the season or any success.
By now, you are probably familiar with Fuld’s great defensive plays that are seen on highlight shows each night. This kind of all out play shows you why Fuld has spent significant time on the disabled list. He has injured his wrist (2009), his thumb (2008), strained an oblique (2007) and even tore his labrum (2004, in college). So staying healthy is a legitimate concern going forward.
Do we expect it to last? Of course not, but that hot streak sure is fun and Fuld is especially fun to root for. He leaves it all on the field every night and his old school manager, Joe Madden, loves that kind of player, which is why Fuld will continue to play full time as long as he is producing.
When all is said and done, the batting average will be closer to .250 than .350, but the stolen bases will continue as long as Fuld gets on base. With Ramirez gone, Johnny Damon‘s glove better suited for the designated hitter role and Matt Joyce hitting an empty .290, Fuld’s spot in the lineup looks safe for now.
Perez, the outfielder that Fuld was swapped for, was a fan favorite in Tampa Bay. He has yet to see a Major League at-bat for the Cubs, and the Rays fans seem to like Fuld a lot more.
For fantasy purposes, Fuld is a must have – for now. Ride the hot bat as long as he is hitting. Stomach the poor batting average as long as he is piling up stolen bases for your team. Dump him when he becomes a drag on your team.
The rumors have not been confirmed, but the word on the street is that Superman wears Sam Fuld pajamas to bed each night.