Ryan Zimmerman among safe early picks 

February, 28, 2011

By now, we're all aware of how awesome Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was last season, winning the American League batting title and providing top-notch power for five months. Hamilton ended up as fantasy's No. 6 option on the Player Rater, and while he's not quite that coveted this time around, I can unequivocally say as terrific as he is, he's not safe. Some of you in the early rounds of any draft are looking squarely at safe. Hamilton isn't it.

Conservative drafters like myself will tell you players like Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman are safe because we have a better idea of the range of statistical possibilities, and there's little downside. Perhaps Zimmerman is a bit devoid of the major upside some seek out in early-round picks, but will he have a season like Hamilton delivered in 2009? I doubt it. Zimmerman hit 33 home runs and knocked in 106 runs in 2009, and was on pace for similar production last season before a late-season injury cost him games. He's 26 years old, still awaiting his power prime. I don't think he'll ever hit .359 or approach 40 home runs, but I feel pretty good about him as a safe starting third baseman, and third-round pick.