Fantasy Baseball: The safest draft picks you can make in Rounds 1-10

Let's be honest: It's hard for any player of a sport that plays 162 games to be considered completely "safe" in fantasy baseball. Yet, we can all agree that some players are surer bets than others.

Here are my top picks for security blankets in drafts, with one player for each of the first 10 rounds, based on Yahoo ADP.

Round 1: Trea Turner, 2B/SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

I feel like I'm cheating, picking the consensus No. 1-ranked player for 2022, but it's hard to ignore Turner and his situation this year.

Let's keep it simple. Turner is a virtual lock to go 20-20 in a full season. He hasn't hit under .270 since his rookie year. And he will likely hit leadoff for the best lineup in baseball.

It's why, now that Fernando Tatis Jr. will be recovering from a fractured wrist for up to three months, that Turner is the consensus No. 1 pick.

Round 2: Freddie Freeman, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers

I mean, c'mon. How can you deny this?

Arguably the most underrated superstar in MLB and a model of consistency throughout his career, Freeman just joined the aforementioned Turner in what, on paper, is one of the most powerhouse lineups ever to hit a baseball field.

It often feels like we take Freeman's greatness for granted, because its always there, year in and year out (his "worst" full season ended with a slash line of .259/.340/.456 with 23 home runs and 94 RBIs — that's pretty much All-Star level in 2022). That's the definition of safe.

(Full Disclosure: My initial pick here was Max Scherzer, but at 37 years old and on a new team, I begin to worry when the iron horse will finally spring a leak. I also feel like this time next year, I'll be talking about Kyle Tucker as a safe second-rounder — maybe even first-rounder.)

Round 3: Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox

I considered Tim Anderson here because of the batting average, the stolen bases and the insulation that comes with hitting at the top of the loaded White Sox lineup.

In the end, however, I couldn't deny Bogaerts, who is just an absolute star. He has four straight seasons receiving AL MVP votes, fueled by strong hitting ratios. He'll even throw in a few stolen bases — with upside for double digits — for good measure. And now he'll get to play with Trevor Story on an already strong Red Sox lineup. Let's get it!

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Round 4: Nolan Arenado, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals

Liam Hendriks is also a solid option here, but all you have to do is look at Arenado's first year with the Cardinals to know that his safety factor is virtually unharmed being away from Coors Field.

Sure, he might not reach the ceiling available in the Colorado air, but we're not looking for upside here; we're looking for floor. It's hard to be upset with 34 home runs and 105 RBIs last season. He's still just 30 years old, too. Round 4 is a steal for a player of his caliber.

Round 5: Lance Lynn, SP, Chicago White Sox

Yeah, so Lance Lynn is going to turn 35 a month into the season. Big whoop. The man is aging like a fine wine. Or, an aggressive, fearless, fastball-throwing fine wine.

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lance Lynn (33) has been a fantasy baseball star
Consider Lance Lynn in your fantasy baseball drafts. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Some pitchers just know how to get it done, even with diminishing skills. Lance fits the bill, and the advanced stats aren't too far off his surface numbers, either. He hasn't averaged less than nine strikeouts per nine innings since 2017. He plays for a World Series contender.

I love pitchers who are able to age gracefully. Lance might not win you your league, but there's little chance of him hurting your fantasy rotation.

Round 6: Javier Baez, SS, Detroit Tigers

I am not a fan of Baez's all-or-nothing hitting approach, but hey, it works for fantasy. He fits the bill of what many fantasy managers covet in category formats — a home-run hitter who will also steal bases.

He's gonna strike out a billion times but he's also a yearly threat to go 25-15, maybe even 30-20. I'll take that in Round 6 as opposed to his previous, earlier ADPs. This Tigers team is also not shy about running, so I wouldn't be surprised if Baez delivers — or, at the very least, ties — his career-high stolen base total.

Round 7: Jose Berrios, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Berrios is a bit of an odd case. It seems like everyone expected him to become one of these upper echelon, set-it-and-forget-it aces, the kind of guy who could be the cornerstone of a franchise for years.

But maybe he was always supposed to be a good-but-not-great starting pitcher. And maybe that isn't a bad thing.

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Berrios delivered one of the best seasons of his career while partially playing for a new team for the first time. With six seasons under his belt already you can safely project Berrios to give you a mid-3.00s ERA, over 180Ks with upside for more and a sterling WHIP. Not to mention, his win potential in a full season with the potent Blue Jays lineup backing him up has never been higher.

It's not every day you can find a starter in Round 7 who is not only safe but, at just 27-years-old, still possesses the upside for the potential we've all been waiting for.

Round 8: Ryan Pressly, RP, Houston Astros

Pressly normally wouldn't sound like a safe option, but hey, it doesn't seem like the Astros are actively looking to supplant him or offer real competition against him for the closer role. As long as he's coming in the ninth inning for a World Series-caliber team, he's safe for drafters.

Round 9: Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

My heart really wanted to pick Clayton Kershaw here. As a Kershaw stan, I can't help but want to scoop him up this late in a draft. But we can't ignore the fact he'll almost certainly miss games this season.

So let's go with a Reynolds here. Yeah, it's usually not common to label a player who has just two full seasons under his belt as "safe," but Reynolds' entire profile screams "safe" — maybe even "boring."

He's one of the few hitters who still delivers an elite batting average, and he also has 25-homer upside. His floor is .285 with 20 home runs. His upside is .315 and 25. The main reasons to downgrade him are due to his non-exciting power/speed potential and his team.

If that's not safe, I don't know what is.

Round 10: Nelson Cruz, UTIL, Washington Nationals

I do love me some Nelly Cruz. I love him even more now that he's being drafted, on average, in Round 10.

Admittedly, I'm not a big fan of labeling a player who will be on a new team as safe, but I don't think that caveat applies to Cruz. I mean, c'mon, the man hit 32 home runs at age 41 while splitting time between the Twins and Rays last season. He hasn't had less than 30 home runs in a full season since 2013, and now he'll get to bat alongside on-base machine Juan Soto in a hitter's ballpark.

Sign me up for another 30+ homers, a playable batting average and 85+ RBIs.

Stay tuned for the most underrated and overrated picks of 2022 coming soon!