Friday, February 5, 2016

Fantasy Focus: 2016 Breakout First Basemen- Ben Paulsen and Chris Colabello

Ben Paulsen, 1B.  B-L, T-R.  DOB:  10/24/1983.  6'4", 205 lbs.  Organization:  Rockies.

2015:  .277/.376/.462, 19 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR, 354 PA.

Chris Colabello, 1B.  B-R, T-R.  DOB:  10/24/1983.  6'4", 235 lbs.  Organization:  Blue Jays

2015:  .321/.367/.520, 19 2B, 15 HR, 360 PA.

I've been putting Brandon Belt out there as a breakout first baseman for so long now, it's gotten embarrassing.  Now that I'm moving on, he'll probably breakout this year, which would be A-OK with me.  The easiest way for a hitter to breakout is for him to keep on doing exactly what he's been doing, but just get more PA's, so I always look for guys who who might make the jump from 200-400 PA's to 600+.  Paulsen and Colabello are two first basemen who might just do that.

With Justin Morneau moving on from the Rockies, Ben Paulsen stands to move into the starting 1B role there.  Of course, the fact that he plays half his games in Coors Field is an added bonus.  The downside might be that he doesn't hit lefties all that well and he might end up in a platoon with Mark Reynolds.  Watch that situation closely and if it looks like Paulsen is going to get the bulk of playing time, he is a great sleeper option for an IF or UT slot on your fantasy baseball roster.

Colalbello is in a similar situation in Toronto.  He platooned last year with Justin Smoak, but then became the full-time starter at 1B in the postseason.  Smoak is still around, but the postseason may be a tea leaf that he could have a big jump in PA's.  His downside is he is a terrible fielder and Toronto has no shortage of DH candidates.   Again, I would not be looking at Colabello as the first 1B you take in your draft or even to draft him at all.  His situation should be monitored closely and he might be a nice IF or UT option later in your draft or as a pickup target into the season.

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