2024 Fantasy Baseball: The Safest Players in Rounds 1-10 of Checkers

By | March 12, 2024

What is safe when it comes to fantasy baseball? It can’t be the rookie who came up and ended the season with a bad September, drawing comparisons to Albert Pujols. There is no track record. It also can’t be the journeyman pitcher suddenly putting together a string of starts that harks back to Pedro Martínez circa 1999. People look at the back of his baseball card and wonder where that came from.

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If we’re looking for “safe,” we have to start with players who have been there and done that. They could be stars who hit .189 on Memorial Day and still finish the season above .300. The players we can count on will see their names in the lineup almost every day, all season long.

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

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

Today, however, there is a steady production that matches what these players have done in the past.

Did Freeman find the Fountain of Youth in LA? In his two seasons with the Dodgers, he hit .325 and .331, respectively, filling out the home runs, runs and RBI categories to become the clear first baseman in fantasy baseball. That average shouldn’t be a surprise, considering he’s hit over .300 in every season but one since 2015. He’s even stolen 36 bags in the two seasons.

Even at 34 years old, Freeman shows no signs of letting go and is the lynchpin of the Dodger lineup.

Age (32) is just a number until Semien doesn’t play 162 games; he has missed just one game in the last three seasons. He is also the leadoff hitter for the reigning World Series champions and is a near-lock for 25+ home runs, double-digit steals and 100+ runs+RBI.

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

Lindor making about 15 picks after Trea Turner should feel like he’s found some money. Lindor’s counting stats will likely mirror Turner’s, and Lindor’s .254 average last year is too low for a player whose lifetime rating is 20 points higher. He’s also a sit-out player, missing just three games over the last two seasons and playing more than 158 games five times in his career. Mr. Smile represents Pete Alonso in a Mets lineup that should be better and will keep many fantasy managers happy all season long.

It’s a blessing to find a player who has gone 20-20 each of the past three seasons. Arozarena nearly doubled his walks from 2022 to 2023 – 46 to 80 – and that helped boost his run total to 95. There are more warts among the outfielders after him.

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

Roster composition will be important in drafting Schwarber to combat the low average, though he has fit into that band box very well in Philadelphia by hitting a combined 93 home runs over the last two seasons. He’ll be a huge help in home runs, runs and RBI, but that Mendoza batting average will be an anchor in that category. It would be nice if he stole 10 bags again like in 2022, after registering zero last year.

As you might imagine, finding a safe pick this round proved difficult as there are several players with injuries in this range.

He’s entering his age-30 season, but Bregman will hit enough home runs past that short portal in left field in Houston to end up in shreds in his mid-20s. He will also flirt with triple figures in runs and RBI with a decent average.

Look at those manning the hot corner down the road in ADP and realize there is a small chasm after Bregman.

In his ten full seasons in the major leagues, Bogaerts appeared in fewer than 144 games once and hit double-digit home runs in all but one season. He’ll move to the top of the Padres’ lineup with some pop. He also added 19 steals last year. Bogaerts will also be a good fit for second base at first, which is always a plus during the season.

Averaging 25 home runs over the past three seasons, at age 29, Reynolds is in that boring veteran phase that amigo Scott Pianowski likes to call the Raul Ibañez All-Stars. He will find himself at the heart of a Pirates lineup that will end up in the middle of the NL Central, as he will do in relative anonymity.

But he will also reward fantasy managers who wait for outfielders in the draft.

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

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