Justin Ruggiano: The Next Sam Fuld

Justin Ruggiano has started each game for the Rays since June 6th.  Great would be an understatement, as Ruggiano has gone .441/.441/.622 over 34 AB, with 2 2B, 2 HR, and 6 RBI.  Small sample size, certainly, but guys who come out of nowhere are what excites people.

Sam Fuld stole the hearts of America, or at least baseball fans, earlier in the season.  He became nearly legendary when, in Mid-April (11th-23rd), he had a period where he went .423/.455/.654…then…he crashed.  In May, Fuld hit just .157 and he currently has a .232/.283/.353 line over 207 AB.  Ruggiano is even playing LF and taking Fuld’s playing time.

What does this mean?  People in fantasy leagues get pumped about the hot player of the moment, running out to get those players who start hitting out of nowhere.  Sam Fuld is 29.  He has never had a full-time job at the Major League level.  There is a reason for that.  Justin Ruggiano is 29.  He has never had a full-time job at the Major League level.  There is a reason for that.  There are guys who have hot weeks every season, and good for you if you are lucky enough to start some schmuck like Fuld or Ruggiano the week that they are hot and your team gains out of it.  However, these are the same guys that you can’t count on long-term because they become Sam Fuld and Justin Ruggiano again at some point.

Zoilo Versalles won the AL MVP in 1965 when he hit .273/.319/.462 with 45 2B, 12 3B, 19 HR, 77 RBI and 126 Runs…his career line…he was one of these guys: .242/.290/.367.  The only difference is, no one is going to give 600+ plate appearances to players like Fuld or Ruggiano.  And people say that expansion has made the game weaker?  There is a reason that Fuld and Ruggiano haven’t been given a shot like that: Because reality leaves a lot to the imagination, General Managers can imagine guys like Desmond Jennings coming up to steal the reality of a job from Fuld and Ruggiano.

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