Baseball Notebook

The big story surrounding Stanford baseball these days is the future of Sam Fuld. The All-American centerfielder was a 24th round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs last June and has the option of turning pro or returning to The Farm for his senior season. Read on for the latest with Fuld, his experience this summer in the Cape Cod League, plus all the latest news and notes.

If there was any doubt that Sam Fuld couldn't succeed with a wood bat in his hands, he certainly put those claims to rest after his tremendous summer in the Cape Cod League.  In the most high-profile collegiate summer baseball league, Fuld hit a whopping .361 with seven doubles, one home run, 14 RBI, and ten stolen bases.  The .361 average was good for second in the league while he finished first with a remarkable .450 on-base percentage.  This coming on the heels of a subpar summer with Team USA (.190 average) and a "down year" (at least by Sam Fuld standards) in 2003 with the Cardinal.

"It was just one of those things where I didn't put any pressure on myself," explains Fuld.  "I might have pressed a little last summer.  My main goal going into this summer was to enjoy myself.  If I didn't play well, so what.  Luckily I played well, my confidence built throughout the summer, and I was enjoying myself.  Sometimes you lose sight of how important it is to enjoy the game."

This was Fuld's first summer in the Cape after two years of playing for the USA National Team.  He says that both experiences were great, but there certainly are some differences.  "The main difference between the Cape and Team USA is your more settled in the Cape and it's more of an everyday routine," says Fuld.  "With the USA team, you're traveling everyday.  It was nice to settle down and get some routine.  The traveling (in the Cape) was minimal and the competition was just as good, if not better."

Fuld's efforts in the Cape while playing for the Hyannis Mets (with Stanford teammates Brian Hall and Donny Lucy) did not go unnoticed.  Fuld was named to the all-star team where he starred garnering the West Division MVP.  "That (playing in the all-star game) was pretty special.  It was a neat couple of days with the home run derby and autograph signings."  And with Fuld leading the way, the Mets qualified for the playoffs after finishing dead last in their division the previous two years.

With summer baseball completed, Fuld's focus now turns to his plans for the upcoming year.  Last June, the speedy centerfielder was drafted in the 24th round by the Chicago Cubs despite three times being named to the All-Pac-10 team and twice given All-American status.  "I was prepared," Fuld remarks.  "I knew the draft could be a funny thing and I knew that anything could happen."  But despite being picked much lower than everyone anticipated, Fuld still felt honored to be drafted at all.  "It was a lifelong goal of mine to be be drafted and the fact that I was drafted, period, was a pretty good feeling for me."

As for his current negotiations with the Cubs, Fuld has yet to make a solid commitment for his plans next year, but in all likelihood, he will return to Stanford for his senior season.  "We've (himself and the Cubs) met once and we talked about things," Fuld says.  "As of now, the plan is for me to go back to school, but by no means have we cut off negotiations.  I haven't spoken to them in awhile, but they realize they have a month to sign me.  I expressed to them that I have a lot to look forward to in going back to school next year."   The Cubs have already signed five of their drafted outfielders including first round pick Ryan Harvey to a 2.4 million dollar signing bonus.  Fuld concludes, "As of now, I'm certainly leaning toward going back to school."

The first day of classes at Stanford is September 24th.

HOLLER GAINS INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE
Incoming freshman lefthanded pitcher Blake Holler recently completed his summer season with the USA Junior National Team.  During the team's domestic tour in June and early July, the Terre Haute, Indiana native pitched in four games and compiled a 1-0 record with a 2.17 ERA (9 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO).  He only pitched once during the Junior Pan Am Cup in Curacao and walked all three batters he faced (two of which scored).  Current Stanford players that have participated with the US Junior National Team include: Chris Carter, Drew Ehrlich, Brian Hall, Mark Jecmen, and Donny Lucy.

REYNOLDS GETS A TASTE OF THE MAJOR LEAGUE LIFE
Greg Reynolds, another highly touted incoming freshman pitcher, recently pitched at Pac Bell Park.  A 41st round selection last June of Philadelphia, Reynolds threw on the side in front of Phillies pitching coach Joe Kerrigan when Philadelphia was in town to play the Giants earlier this month.  Reynolds, who was rated as having top-five round talent prior to the draft, is not expected to sign.

FLORIDA STATE "OUT," KANSAS "IN"
The major change in this year's schedule sees the Florida State Seminoles off the non-conference docket with the Kansas Jayhawks taking their place.  Kansas, which is coached by former Cal Poly head man Ritch Price, raced to a 20-6 start last season which included a series sweep at LSU in February.  But the Jayhawks struggled mightily in the second half as they limped to a 9-18 Big 12 mark and a quick 0-2 appearance at the Big 12 Conference Tournament.  Kansas finished with a 35-28 overall record. 

The Cardinal and Seminoles had played a series against each other in each of the last four seasons with Stanford holding a 7-5 advantage.  Florida State did though knock the Cardinal out of the 1999 College World Series while also picking up a critical victory over Stanford during the 1996 regionals at Sunken Diamond.  The Seminoles will travel to Tempe to play Arizona State this season instead.

RECRUITING IN FULL-SWING
The first evaluation period of the summer for college coaches concludes next weekend.  After a brief "Quiet Period" where in-person recruiting contacts can only be made on-campus during the first week and a half of September, recruiting will kick into high-gear with another evaluation period up until the early signing period in mid-November.

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