Rockies Year in Review: Ben Paulsen
Today, we are featuring Rockies first baseman/outfielder Ben Paulsen.
Here at Rox Pile, we are starting a player review for each and every player that suited up in a Colorado Rockies uniform this season. This series will be going all the way up until Dec. 16 with player profiles posted every day.
Paulsen is a home-grown product; originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft out of Clemson. Paulsen saw extended action this season when he was recalled from Triple-A this past May when Corey Dickerson and Justin Morneau went on the DL.
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A year removed from being named a Triple-A All-Star, Paulsen came up with some of the most clutch moments for the Rockies this season. In 2015, the Rockies hit a total of 8 walk-offs. Paulsen had two of those walk-offs. There was only one other guy to have more than one (you guessed it; it was Cargo, who totaled two as well). Acknowledging Paulsen’s clutch moments, he did only post a WAR of 0.8, which was good enough for 10th in the National League at first base, but still not near starter status which is around a WAR of 2.0.
Ben finished out the 2015 season hitting a respectable .277 in 116 games (91 of those games came at first base), totaling 19 doubles, 4 triples, 11 home runs and 49 RBI’s. Ben, like most Rockies hitters in history did benefit from Coors Field, as his OPS at home was .846, but only .718 away from Denver. What is nice to see however, is that Ben hit 5 of his 11 home runs on the road. Defensively Paulsen filled in admirably both at first base and in the outfield. Some of you may recall a June 26th game against Arizona where Ben robbed a home run late in a 2-1 game; the Rox ended up coming from behind and winning that game.
All-in-all, Paulsen played a lot more games than expected when Morneau and Dickerson hit the shelf for an extended time. I highly doubt Ben will receive any Rookie of the Year votes with his play at the plate, but he definitely made a name for himself in the clutch.
Heading into the 2016 campaign, the situation at first base is uncertain. Morneau’s contract is pending a mutual option. If both sides agree, then Morneau will be owed $9 million; which will mean that the Rockies intend to start him at first base as long as he is healthy. But, if the Rockies or Morneau want to move on, then it looks like a possible platoon situation between Paulsen and Rosario pending any moves.
Overall Grade: B-