Sam Fuld was drafted in the 10th round of the 2004 draft by the Chicago Cubs, and was never one of their top prospects despite some solid K/BB rates throughout the minors. Looking at the Cubs starting lineup over the past few years, one wonders why he never got a real shot since he was what they needed for quite some time-a leadoff hitter.
In 2009, playing for the Cubs AAA affiliate Iowa, he hit .284-.358-.415 with 2 HRs, 33 RBIs, 62 runs scored and 23 SBs in 370 at bats. His K rate was an acceptable 7.3% and walked at a 10% clip. Those are very good peripheral stats for a leadoff hitter, but maybe the lack of power was what held him back,
In 2010, again playing for AAA Iowa, Fuld hit .272-.383-.394 with 4 HRs, 27 RBIs, 69 runs scored and 21 SBs in 440 at bats. And like 2009, he walked more than he struck out, displaying a K rate of 10% and a walk rate of 15%. I am not sure what the Cubs did not like about him, as he appeared to be the perfect leadoff hitter.
This past offseason, Fuld was traded to the Rays in the deal that brought Matt Garza to the Cubs. All he has done since then has made Cubs GM Jim Hendry look foolish for dealing him. He is currently playing everyday for the Rays, hitting .350-.411-.525 with a HR, 8 RBIs, 15 runs scored and 10 SBs in 90 at bats. He is striking out a bit more than he did in AAA as his K rate currently sits at 12.5%, but is still walking at a 10% clip.
His BABIP is pretty high at .386, so we all know that is not sustainable, but if he can keep it around .300, which he did in AAA, he should be a solid .270-280 hitter with the potential to steal 30+ bases for a team that is struggling to score runs this year.
How confident are you that Sam Fuld is in the big leagues to stay?