Turning back the clock seven years, Johnny Field reminds me of the Tampa Bay Rays days of Sam Fuld.
Back in 2011, Sam Fuld burst on to the scene and created a lot of excitement and attention for the Tampa Bay Rays. He made highlight film catches and hustled his tail off. And the fans loved him.
Fuld, who retired prior to this season, had a good first year with the Rays in 2011. He will always be remembered for his amazing catch on the outfield warning track against the Chicago White Sox. But, he did some memorable things with his bat as well. By mid-April that year, Sam had two four-hit games under his belt. He went on to hit .240 for the season with three home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Now, fast forward to this season. Johnny Field made his big league debut on April 14 and is taking an increasing role in the Rays outfield. With injuries to Kevin Kiermaier and Carlos Gomez, Field has seen time in all three outfield positions. And, at the plate, he has a respectable .309 batting average with four home runs early in the season.
Comparing Field and Fuld
When Sam Fuld arrived in 2011, he was the speedy little outfielder with no quit. At a “small” 5’10” and 180 lbs, he was all over the place in the outfield and showed just enough offense to excite the fans. Today, Johnny Field, at the same size as Fuld, does the same thing. And his unheralded, no quit path to the major leagues would seem to be a good comparison.
Field was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays out of the University of Arizona in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. Since then, he has touched every step of the Rays minor league ladder as well as an off-season in Australia. And while he has not been recognized as a top prospect, he is that gritty player that just keeps producing. He won’t hit a lot of home runs, probably about 15 a season. He won’t steal a ton of bases, again probably about 15 a season. But, those are numbers that Rays will happily live with from the homegrown talent.