Fuld enjoys the power of statistics

Fuld enjoys the power of statistics

Fuld enjoys the power of statistics
TORONTO -- Among worldly Sam Fuld's many experiences is the time he spent as an intern at Stats, Inc., after he graduated from Stanford with a degree in economics.

From his cubicle in Aurora, Ill., Fuld would watch games on film and plot every pitch.

"The type, the velocity and the location," Fuld said. "This was before all the computer systems did that for you."

Fuld loved his job.

"We did our jobs, and we were all kind of locked in on our computers," Fuld said. "There wasn't a whole lot of crazy math. It wasn't just baseball. I was doing hockey and football, too. For most people, it was probably monotonous work. But I'm a sports junkie, and I like the numbers side of it all."

After perusing countless statistics and understanding how to evaluate performances through numbers under many different criteria, Fuld feels like defense largely goes unnoticed statistically.

"They're working on it," Fuld said. "[But] I think that's something that they've yet to perfect or even come close to it. ... Who knows if it will ever happen; it's a tricky thing to quantify. To me that's the one thing. They've come so far in measuring offensive performance. But I still think there's a ways to go defensively."

While baseball is probably the hungriest for statistics of all the major team sports, there is not a uniform field. Fuld smiled when asked if he found that fact ironic.

"I never thought about that," Fuld said. "I love that about baseball. Obviously, the diamond's the same, but you have these different dimensions. I love it. Just personally, as an outfielder, it adds a different element to every stadium you go to. There's something different you have to think about. It's the equivalent of going to a Patriots game and the field being 95 yards. It's odd, but I love it."

Fuld noted there is a "ton of stuff" that can't be measured by numbers.

"I'm a big believer in chemistry," Fuld said. "Obviously you can't qualify that. How good of a clubhouse guy he is. What kind of a leader a guy is. So there's always going to be that element. On the field performance, I think numbers paint a pretty accurate picture. Not the entire story, but pretty darn close."

Fuld is fascinated by what the numbers tell him about the concept of clutch hitters.

"Most of the numbers out there show that there's no such thing," Fuld said. "And it's crazy to think that, because I swear I've played with guys who just tend to come through in the clutch. And others that don't.

"But that's the beauty of numbers is that our minds don't necessarily capture the whole picture accurately. Our emotions remember certain things for whatever reason, and there are certain things you don't remember. So I think that's the beauty of numbers. It's fact. There's no way around it."