It’s September and you know what that means: we have made it to the final month of the 2014 Major League Baseball season. Consequently, there’s a lot to talk about — most of which is pertinent to the heated playoff races developing before our very eyes — but, today, I’ve taken the liberty to talk about none other than the National League’s worst team, the Colorado Rockies.
Yes, really. Just because, at 55-83, they boast the worst record in the N.L., doesn’t mean they’re obsolete to the baseball world. They still play games, as meaningless as they may be, and there’s a player by the name of Ben Paulsen who deserves some attention for his contributions within those “pointless” contests.
Well, he certainly gave that off-speed pitch a ride, subsequently putting the Rockies ahead of the San Francisco Giants 9-7.
For the few Rockie-faithfuls still watching, this was a welcomed sight. The first basemen came up “clutch” in late-inning action, providing Colorado sports fans with something to smile about until the Denver Broncos begin play Sunday. His valiant homer, however, was not the first spark he provided the ball club.
No, sir. In fact, Paulsen’s been raking all year with a stellar .417/.447/.694 slash line. Granted, that line was produced in an extremely small sample size (38 plate appearances), and tells us essentially nothing about the type of player he is. That said, given Paulsen’s minor-league track record, there’s a legitimate reason to believe this kid can be an offensive force.
Check out his numbers in the minor-leagues over the past three seasons.
2012 with Double-A (478 PA): .255 AVG, .314 OBP, .399 SLG, 97 wRC+, and .313 BABIP
2013 with Triple-A (502 PA): .292 AVG, .345 OBP, .523 SLG, 124 wRC+, and .366 BABIP
2014 with Triple-A (497 PA): .294 AVG, .378 OBP, .533 SLG, 133 wRC+, and .362 BABIP
He’s been underrated since being drafted in the third-round of 2009 Amateur Baseball Draft by the Rockies. Sure, three years of underwhelming play in the minors will do that, but even after Paulsen began to hit again critics doubted him. SB Nation’s Jordan Freemyer, who I have tremendous respect for, was among those critics and wrote this before the ’14 season commenced.
“On top of the team’s to do list should be (and likely is) finding a long-term answer at first. In the franchise’s first 21 seasons of play, it has had just two regular first basemen, Andres Galarraga and Todd Helton, so this isn’t really an issue the team has had to deal with before, and I don’t think that answer at first is currently in the organization, I’m not on the Parker bandwagon and I don’t think anyone really thinks the likes of Ben Paulsen has the bat to play first in the majors.”
He wasn’t the only one, and seemingly even after his emergence to the big-league club, people still have their doubts. This isn’t totally off-base because you should be weary about any youngster adjusting to the nuances of MLB pitching, but Paulsen’s numbers speak for themselves. And at this point, there’s no reason not to believe he won’t be a potent offensive commodity playing half his games in Coors Field in the future. However, Colorado does have Justin Morneau, who’s good and under contract until 2015 at the earliest — he has a $9 million team option for ’16.
So, it’s unlikely Paulsen finds regular playing time any time soon. There’s no guarantee he’d even thrive as an everyday player to begin with. All I’m saying is that Ben Paulsen’s offense is the real deal.