The 2009 Fantasy Draft for the keeper Grand Slam league in its 10th season came and went on Saturday, March 14. After the first seven rounds were completed with keepers being claimed, the real draft began.
Here's how the first free agent round played out.
1) Screaming Eagles selected Adrian Gonzalez (1B, San Diego)
A curious pick here to have the first overall pick and to go with a first baseman when Carlos Pena already fills that hole on the Screaming Eagles roster. Not to mention Adam Dunn and Chris Davis of Texas also are on the team with first base eligibility. With only 17 starting pitchers being unavailable to take, Screaming Eagles missed a prime opportunity to get the likes of a Josh Beckett or James Shields to join Daisuke Matsuzaka as the lone starting pitcher on the staff.
2) MN Snow Dawgs selected Joe Nathan (RP, Minnesota)
Too high to be going after closers. They provide so little in the big picture. Snow Dawgs already had four outfielders which is a little strange in itself since there are only three outfield slots that can be filled at a time. But with those outfielders and Prince Fielder manning down first base, pitching seemed to be the logical choice.
3) Carolina Mudcats selected Matt Wieters (C, Baltimore)
Wow. Extremely high pick for a player likely to start in Triple A. Mudcats only pitcher at the time of this draft pick was Ervin Santana and reports are out that Santana might not be ready for the start of the season. Missed a prime opportunity so get a solid starter or a corner infielder to go along with his already two shortstops.
4) Stealing Home selected Matt Kemp (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers)
Good pick. Matt Kemp comes with breakout potential this season and adds to a nice offense including Vladimir Guerrero, Alex Rodriguez and Brian Roberts.
5) Hotlanta selected Alex Rios (OF, Toronto)
The second outfielder to go. Rios was a keeper going into last season but was traded after a disappointing start to the 2008 season. He seemed to pick it up after the All-Star break and Hotlanta made the smart decision of going after an outfielder after deciding to keep none from last year's squad.
6) Sheedmen selected Stephen Drew (SS, Arizona)
With eight shortstops already gone, Sheedmen decided to get in his opinion the best of the rest with Drew. The young shortstop was one of only five at his position to go over 20 home runs last season and he did it with a .291 average. Look for those numbers to go up slightly.
7) Rebuilding Cubs selected Josh Beckett (SP, Boston)
The first starting pitcher is taken by a team who desperately needed pitching as they had literally no one. Beckett is good place to start. Cubs already had six offensive positions filled so going after pitching was logical and proved to be so as the next two rounds Cubs drafted more pitching.
8) The Instigators selected Geovany Soto (C, Chicago Cubs)
The fourth catcher to be claimed so far goes to a young team with lots of offensive talent such as Teixeira, Pedrioa, and Longoria. With pitchers Cole Hamels and Francisco Liriano already being kept by The Instigators, pitching was not as high of a priority.
9) Sleeper selected Roy Oswalt (SP, Houston)
The hometown team want three established starters and feel that Oswalt joining Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum gives them an elite 1-2-3 that can match up with any team's top three pitchers. The Sleeper GM later explained that pitching was going to be their first pick because reliable pitching is hard to come by. "By putting Oswalt on the mound, I know exactly what he's going to give me every time out."
10) Sportin' Lumber selected Joakim Soria (RP, Kansas City)
Some teams can get away with drafting a relief pitcher early, some teams can't. Sportin' Lumber can with his already explosive offense. Soria joins Jonathan Papelbon of the Boston Red Sox as Lumber's closers. Although this writer isn't sold on Soria repeating the gaudy numbers he put up last year.
11) Full Count selected Corey Hart (OF, Milwaukee)
Already having three productive outfielders and no starting pitching has fans of this team raising their eyebrows. Not because they think Hart is a bad player, but there are other holes that need to be filled, like starting pitching where after eight rounds they still have none. But Full Count won the championship last season so the fans are little more patient than had their team missed the playoffs altogether.
12) NC Hair Pie Lovers selected Rich Harden (SP, Chicago Cubs)
This might be the steal of the first round. A pitcher who went 10-2 last year with both Oakland and the Cubs with a 2.07 era doesn't usually sink to the 8th round especially in a keeper league. Last season Harden was on the Rebuilding Cubs roster but must've been scared away from Harden's injury plague that seems to bite him every year.
Best Value in the first round - Rich Harden
Worst Value in the first round - Matt Wieters
Round two of the free agent draft will be posted tomorrow.