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Sunday, February 7, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: BEN PAULSEN 1B COLORADO ROCKIES

                                                Ben Paulsen

Ahhh Coors Field.  Just the name of the stadium brings forth a bunch of excitement for both beer drinkers and those who take part in fantasy baseball.  At least when it comes to the hitter's who inhabit the ballpark for half their games in a given season.  We all know by now that Coors Field stands alone when it comes to offensive potency in baseball and as a result, those hitters who call it home are always at a premium at the draft table.  Look no further then 2016 where guys like Nolan Arenado, Gerardo Parra, Carlos Gonzalez, and others will find themselves selected high in drafts.  It can be almost impossible to find value amongst this bunch but there is such a case for this season in the form of first baseman Ben Paulsen.  While never considered a top prospect after being taken in the third round of the 2009 draft, Paulsen did enough solid work in the minors to earn a promotion in late 2014 for 31 games.  Paulsen did a nice job in that cameo as he hit .294 with 4 home runs in just 66 at-bats.  That put Paulsen on track to earn a starting spot the next season but he failed to do so out of spring training.  Still Paulsen stayed with it and earned another call-up despite some lackluster numbers at Triple-A (.256/3 HR in 141 at-bats).  As sometimes happens for guys who toil in the minors after being disappointed in not making the team, the very next promotion brings forth some uptick in numbers where in Paulsen's case, he batted a solid .272 with 11 home runs in just 354 at-bats.  With the Rockies not having brought in anyone to challenge him for first base for 2016, Paulsen is slated to be the man at the spot when the season gets underway.  Let's take a look at what we could see from a full season out of Paulsen going forward and what he could supply his intrigued fantasy baseball owners.

When it comes to Ben Paulsen and his expected impact in our fake game, his best attribute really centers on good but not great power.  Paulsen has been a locked-in 18-20 home run guy in the minor leagues and that looks to be his profile for the Rockies as well.  20 home runs is about the ceiling we can anticipate here as Paulsen is already 28 and probably already into his prime years. Thus with little to no ceiling left to his name, Paulsen should be projected again from 18-20 home runs with around 60 or so RBI since he will be hitting lower in the order.  Having struck out in 26 percent of his at-bats with the Rockies last season, Paulsen has some holes in his swing which will make hitting even .280 a bit of challenge.  Like most Rockies hitters, Paulsen batted much better at home in 2015 (.293 at Coors Field), compared to the road (.258).  This again puts a cap on his home runs, runs, and RBI totals.  Also Paulsen has zero speed so nothing but a steals or two will happen with the guy.

So when you put it all together, Ben Paulsen has some intrigue in terms of his home ballpark but he is only just a UTIL or CI option and that is for deeper formats.  He has some more value in NL-only formats but overall Paulsen is a solid but unspectacular play. 

2016 PROJECTION:  .277 19 HR 67 RBI 60 R 1 SB
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