Sam Fuld (TBA) is off to a great start, hitting for a high average and getting on base at a great clip, just what the Rays want from a lead-off hitter. Through Friday's games, however, Fuld's .395 OBP was based almost entirely on his .366 BA, as he drew just four walks. Often, a lack of walks indicates a hitter is a free swinger, but that does not seem to be the case with Fuld.
Pitchers try to keep the ball away from Fuld, but they also tend to keep their pitches, mostly fastballs, in the strike zone:
So far, Sam is doing a good job of distinguishing balls from strikes. His swings tend to be in the strike zone:
The pitches he takes are good pitches to take, out of the strike zone or on the edge:
In fact, Sam is a selective hitter. Since he doesn't have much major league experience at the age of 28, the opposition rightly assumes he's not that good a hitter. Rather than pitch him carefully, they challenge Fuld. With a long minor league career behind him, Sam is experienced, and that is paying off with him killing the fastballs pumped into the strike zone. At some point, pitchers will realize this is not the way to approach Fuld, and we'll see how he adjusts when he sees fewer fastballs and more pitches on the edges.