Updated: Dec 21, 2021
The offseason is a time in all sports to start fresh and try to build a championship contender with every organization starting from the same spot. In Ultimate Fantasy League Baseball, Auction Season will begin the construction phase for both franchises and scouts as they start filling their rosters and agencies with future stars.
The Top Prospects Auction will kick things off on February 19, when the best players in MLB organizations who have yet to play an MLB game will be available to the highest bidders between franchises and scouts. UFLB franchises can fill up to 14 of their protected list spots, while scouts have no limits on the number of players they can bid on and win in the auction. Each player can be bid on by any eligible bidder in this free market auction that pumps up the prize pool — $25 USD worth of Score Coin (SCO) from each prospect goes towards league development, with the remainder going towards the UFLB prize pool — but franchises and scouts are not required to participate.
The Top Prospects Auction will see a total of 145 players available over the course of a week, with 20 prospects per day (25 on the final day) from February 19-25, 2022.
“Auction Season is going to be a blast and a blur,” said Dean Millard, Head of Baseball Operations for UFF Sports. “This is where some, but not all, franchises will really start building their foundation, but don’t forget they’re not only bidding against 29 other franchises but a massive number of scouts potentially as well. I know our scouting director Bryan Hernandez has been like a kid in a candy store putting the lists together.”
Hernandez, like someone else who provides joy to boys and girls, is also making lists but checking them many more times than twice! He’s been hard at work to make sure each day of the auction will feature potential superstars — also ensuring those stars are spread out over the seven-day extravaganza.
“I believe a lot of guys will transition from the minors into the Majors as teams looks to finally cash in on their top prospects,” said Hernandez, suggesting UFLB franchises could receive an instant return on their investments. “I expect names like Bobby Witt Jr. and Triston Casas to join the league this year and have immediate impacts.”
Scouts will get a breather while franchises draft their 26-player active rosters in the one-and-only UFLB Veteran Player Draft on March 5-6, before scouts take centre stage for the Futures Auction and the International Free Agent Auctions starting March 26.
In the Futures Auction, a total of 180 players from the 2022, 2023 and 2024 draft classes will be auctioned in another week-long event, with 25 prospects available per day (30 on the final day) from March 26 to April 1.
“The talent pool for the Futures Auction is plentiful,” said Hernandez. “These are some the top players according to MLB and Perfect Game, so I believe these players are future All-Stars and captains to the league.”
Hernandez isn’t concerned that the Futures Auction will leave the cupboards bare for those scouts who prefer to work the Open Market, with the ability to list players on a first-come, first-serve basis for just $20 USD worth SCO.
“I believe there will be some great finds on the Open Market where it is finders’ keepers,” said Hernandez. “Rankings for 2022, 2023 and 2024 are just rankings at the current time. These rankings can change at any point and players who had one bad year can have an exceptional season and shoot up the rankings.”
That will be followed by the International Free Agent Auction, with 50 players up for grabs to scouts on April 2-3. This auction will feature 25 players per day from Latin America and Asia.
In total, there will be 16 days of player auctions for franchises and scouts to get started. Each player will be up for auction for 1 minutes with 30-second extensions for any bids in the final 30 seconds. The starting bid for each player will be $25 with a minimum bid increment of $5. All bidding is in USD, but payments must be in SCO, so franchises and scouts will want to start accumulating SCO in advance of these auctions if they intend to be bidders.
“We obviously saw what Extra Innings was like with the UFLB Franchise Auction, so who knows what we will see in these player auctions. You might see someone come over the top on a player they really like and end any kind of bidding war,” said Millard. “But you may not see all franchises and scouts bidding in these auctions, either. Some scouts will prefer finding Open Market stars, and some franchises will build through trades, not through auctions. That’s the beauty of UFLB, there are many ways to compete and many forms of asset management — from big spenders to smaller market franchises.”
Auction Season will be a 40-day sprint from Day 1 of the Top Prospects Auction on February 19 to opening day of the season on March 31 and beyond. It will be a busy one for all involved and good preparation for what running a franchise will take. Once the International Free Agent Auction closes on April 3, the Open Market will begin where scouts can list any eligible player for $20 USD worth of SCO.
Hernandez, for his part, is expecting a lot of excitement and limited sleep when Auction Season starts on February 19.
“I think very little sleep,” he chuckled, “especially after the auctions when the Open Market officially kicks off.”
The list of players available in the Top Prospects Auction will be released on February 1, while the Futures Auction list will be revealed on March 1.
Following the UFLB Veteran Player Draft on March 5-6, franchises will be allowed to put players on Release Waivers and, if not claimed, release them without paying the $10 USD worth of SCO transaction fee for a period to be determined.
Lastly, a reminder to complete franchise payments by the December 31 deadline or face a late fee. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange payment. Branding cannot be submitted until full payment is received and franchises cannot attend league meetings until fully paid.
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