The Name Sam Fuld Fittingly Lacks an R, B, or I

Sam Fuld is unique.

Quite a few ballplayers have gone to Stanford University, and more than a few are known to be fans of numbers, but how many can say they interned with Stats Inc.? A somewhat recent piece told of Fuld’s duties for the numbers-tracking giant:

“I was one of their reporters, which meant that I looked at game video and plotted the ‘TVL’ — type, velocity and location — of every pitch,” Fuld said. “They have this grid where you click on exactly where the ball crosses the plate. Play the tape, pause and repeat.” A monotonous job, no? “It sounds tedious, and it was, but for whatever reason I handled it,” Fuld says. “I guess there’s a lot of baseball nerds out there.”

Coincidentally, Fuld nearly pulled a feat this season that his previous employer would’ve found amusing. Despite receiving more than 115 plate appearances, Fuld entered the final game of the 2009 season without a single run batted in. The odds of going that long are pretty miniscule; after all, a simple home run notches a RBI, yet until his fifth inning homer, Fuld had a clean sheet.

As it turns out, using Baseball-Reference’s Play Index tool, Fuld actually held the second longest RBI-less streak to begin a career since 1954. Cleveland’s Lou Camilli went 73 games and 135 at-bats without an RBI in a streak that lasted over three seasons. Fuld’s streak is more implausible because (a) he actually hit pretty well (.270/.397/.340) and (b) the entirety of his drought took place in just over 12 months.

The next highest OPS to go more than 30 games shares something in common with Fuld as he too was a member of the Cubs. Jesus Figueroa started his career on the 22nd of April and didn’t record his first RBI until June 15th of the same year. That’s a span of 32 games in which he hit .313/.371/.344. Cubs are all over the place when you limit the search from the year 2000 onwards and take away the caveat that it must be at the beginning of a player’s career. Tom Goodwin went 56 games back in 2004 and 45 games for Juan Pierre in 2006. Again though, neither hit quite as well as Fuld.

There may not be a prototypical player for such a trivial pursuit, but Fuld’s skill set does lend to this record, consider that a player must bat low in the lineup, not have great slugging abilities, and have weak batters ahead of him.

I just wonder whether Fuld was aware.

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13 Responses to “The Name Sam Fuld Fittingly Lacks an R, B, or I”

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  1. Uh says:

    um…what’s with the titles?

    god this site is going downhill…

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  2. PJ says:

    Um… what’s wrong with the titles?

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  3. lookatthosetwins says:

    Fuld’s slash line definitely does lend to not being an RBI guy. You have to wonder if ol’ Lou is going to try to get him to “be more aggresive” in an attempt to make him more of one. You gotta think it drives him crazy seeing a young guy walk when there’s a chance to drive in runs.

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    • Joe R says:

      What I love is how despite it all, actual run scoring is underrated.

      Fuld scored a run in 14.78% of his PA’s in 2009. That would’ve put him just outside the top 30 in MLB if he had the minimum PA’s and remained at that rate. Yes, using runs as a descriptive stat sucks because it has no predictive value, and is dependent on other elements, but still, that’s good.

      Your top 5 among league eligibles:
      Pujols: .177
      Damon: .171
      Youkilis: .168
      Ibanez: .165
      Utley: .163

      bottom 5:
      Betancourt: .079
      Y. Molina: .083
      Kouzmanoff: .087
      Peralta: .088
      Kendall: .091

      And because I can never resists taking a pop at the Boston media’s crush on Ellsbury / hate of JD Drew:

      Drew: .156
      Ellsbury: .136

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    • Joe R says:

      To further show why Runs is better than RBI’s:

      Top 5, RBI/PA:

      Howard: .201
      Fielder: .196
      Pujols: .193
      Rodriguez: .187
      Bay: .187 (also 6th in R/PA, only guy other than Pujols top 6 in both, someone tell his agent)

      Bottom 5:

      Bourn: .052
      Bonifacio: .053
      Schumaker: .060
      Fowler: .066
      Ichiro: .068

      Bonifacio stinks, but Ichiro? Bourn? Those sound like players you don’t want on your team? And who wants to argue Howard > Pujols again?

      Torii Hunter was 10th in MLB in (R+RBI)/PA in 2009 among league eligibles. Ahead of Teixeira. Damn, good season.

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      • MU789 says:

        Ichiro, Bourn and Shumaker all hit leadoff most of the time. Bourne and Shumaker had the 8th place hitter and the pitcher in front of them but I’m not sure who was hitting 8th and 9th for the Mariners.

        Fowler hit leadoff or second I think so he would fall into the Bourne/Shumaker situation.

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    • james says:

      You must be thinking Dusty Baker, not Lou Piniella. Lou loves walks. He just doesn’t have enough batters who do enough of it. The 2008 Cubs had one of the higher walk totals and had the runs to go with it. This doesn’t mean he does the right things with the batters who do walk, such as Fuld, Bradley, Fukudome, etc… but the job would be much easier if he had more of them.

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    • hr says:

      How does that make sense at all? The Cubs have been an incredibly patient team since Lou took over.

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  4. game online says:

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  5. ??? says:

    I see the 2concern.I am very y happy to hear that you got your Supra fixed. I remember reading about some of your doubts3x !.

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