2024 Fantasy Baseball: The safest players in Rounds 1-10 of drafts

What is safe when it comes to fantasy baseball? It can’t be the rookie who came up and closed the season with a wicked September, bringing comparisons to Albert Pujols. There’s no track record. Nor can it be the journeyman pitcher who suddenly puts together a string of starts that hark back to Pedro Martínez circa 1999. People look on the back of his baseball card and wonder where that came from.

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If we’re looking for “safe,” we need to begin with players who’ve been there, done that. It could be stars who are hitting .189 on Memorial Day and still end up the season over .300. Those players we can count on to see their names in the lineup practically every day, all season.

[2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP]

That’s what this article is going to tackle, bringing fantasy managers one player for each of the first 10 rounds of Yahoo drafts who can be counted on to put up similar numbers to what they’ve done in the past. It’s the first of a series; later, we’ll go round by round and pick the most underrated and overrated players.

Today, though, just steady production that fits with what these players have done in the past.

Round 1: Freddie Freeman, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers (ADP: 6.8)

Did Freeman find the Fountain of Youth in LA? In his two seasons with the Dodgers, he’s hit .325 and .331, respectively, and filled out the homers, runs and RBI categories to be the clear-cut top first baseman in fantasy baseball. That average mark should not be a surprise, as he’s hit over .300 every season but one since 2015. He’s even stolen 36 bags over the two seasons.

Even at age 34, Freeman does not show signs of letting up and is the fulcrum of the Dodger lineup.

Round 2: Marcus Semien, 2B, Texas Rangers (ADP: 24.1)

Age (33) is just a number until Semien doesn’t play 162 games — he’s missed just one game in the past three seasons. He’s also the leadoff hitter for the reigning World Series champions and is a near-lock for 25+ home runs, double-digit steals and over 100 runs+RBI.

Just select him and worry about the other positions in your lineup.

Round 3: Francisco Lindor, New York Mets (ADP: 28.0)

Lindor going about 15 picks after Trea Turner must feel like found money. Lindor’s counting stats will likely mirror Turner’s, and last year’s .254 average for Lindor is too low for a player whose lifetime mark is 20 points higher. He’s another player who hardly sits, missing just three games in the past two seasons and playing 158+ games five times in his career. Hitting in front of Pete Alonso in a Mets lineup that should be better, Mr. Smile will make plenty of fantasy managers happy all season.

Round 4: Randy Arozarena, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (ADP: 38.7)

Getting a player who has reached 20-20 each of the past three seasons in this range is a boon. Arozarena almost doubled his walks from 2022 to 2023 — 46 to 80 — and that helped boost his run total to 95. There are more warts among outfielders after him.

Round 5: Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP: 52.8)

Goldy has hit at least 24 home runs in every season since 2015, so he may be the last of the safe first basemen to select in drafts. There will be some who say the production drop last year is the sign of aging, but he’ll still be in the middle of a Cardinals’ lineup that should still score plenty of runs.

Round 6: Kyle Schwarber, UT, Philadelphia Phillies (66.5)

Roster construction will be important when drafting Schwarber to combat the low average, though he has fit in very nicely in that bandbox in Philadelphia by hitting 93 home runs combined in the past two seasons. He’ll help immensely in home runs, runs and RBI, but that Mendoza-line batting average is going to be an anchor in that category. It would be nice to have him go back to stealing 10 bags like in 2022 after registering zero last year.

As you might imagine, this round proved difficult to find a safe pick, as several players with injury concerns are in this range.

Round 7: Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros (ADP: 76.0)

He’s entering his age-30 season, but Bregman will hit enough homers beyond that short porch in left field in Houston to finish in the mid-20s in taters. He’ll also flirt with triple digits in runs and RBI with a decent average.

Look at those who man the hot corner further down ADP and realize there is a bit of a cliff after Bregman.

Round 8: Xander Bogaerts, SS, San Diego Padres (ADP: 93.0)

In his 10 full seasons in the big leagues, Bogaerts has played in under 144 games once and hit double-digit home runs in all but a single season. He’ll hit toward the top of the Padres' lineup with some pop. He also added 19 steals last year. Bogaerts will also receive second-base eligibility in the early going, which is always a plus during the season.

Round 9: Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (ADP: 100.7)

Averaging 25 home runs the past three seasons, Reynolds at 29 is in that boring-veteran phase that amigo Scott Pianowski likes to call the Raul Ibañez All-Stars. He’ll hit in the heart of a Pirates’ lineup that will finish in the middle of the NL Central, as he'll produce in relative anonymity.

But he’ll also reward fantasy managers who are waiting for outfielders in the draft.

Round 10: George Springer, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (ADP: 110.0)

Back-to-back Ibañez All-Stars, Springer at age 34 is a sure bet to hit 20 home runs. He’s hit that mark in each of his past seven full seasons. Springer also added 20 steals last year under the new rules, and if he’s able to keep that going he’s a find in this range.