Updated: Nov 24, 2021
Not only is Major League Baseball the oldest league in North America, but its regular season is also the biggest test in terms of games played. Ultimate Fantasy League Baseball franchises will have to be prepared when the marathon starts on March 31, 2022.
Unlike MLB franchises, their UFLB counterparts won’t have a vast minor league system to spread out their draft picks each year, yet. Having recognized this as a disadvantage to franchises, UFLB administration has decided to create a 2022 Draft Pick Reserve List, where franchises will be able to place any player taken in the 2022 UFLB Entry Draft Auction, and not count towards the franchises’ 40-player list.
It was a unanimous decision by Dean Millard, Head of Baseball for UFF Sports and Commissioner of UFLB; Bryan Hernandez, UFLB Scouting Director; Gerald Smiley, UFLB Director of Recruitment; and Matt Soren, UFLB Director of Competition.
“You’re going to need to have open spots on your protected list in case of injury,” said Soren, who was on Team Israel’s Olympic roster before injury cost him a chance at the Games. “162 games are the longest season in pro sports, so you will definitely need some reinforcements throughout the season, if you want to make the playoffs.”
MLB prospects, unlike some other North American sports, take a little while longer to marinate in the organizational stew before making their way to the show, and UFLB franchises will want to have as many players who are as close to ready as possible filling out the 14 spots on their 40-player list beyond their 26-man active roster. Think ‘next man up’ when it comes to the 40-player list.
“Eventually with a minor league system, franchises will be able to place their players throughout their affiliated clubs, aligning with where they are in the real world,” said Millard. “We will be actively looking for someone to join us and take the reins of creating our minor league system. Once we find that person and we make sure we have the available data to run the league, it will give owners more options.”
This is also where having an affiliation with a scouting agency becomes very important. Players who go undrafted in the UFLB Entry Draft Auction are retained by the scouts until the player is no longer considered an MLB rookie (150 AB/50 IP). At that time, the player will be put up for a 24-hour auction to all UFLB franchises. Following the annual UFLB Entry Draft Auction, any player from that draft class who wasn’t selected but is part of an MLB organization can be sold to a UFLB franchise via direct sale at any time, which allows for a feeder system from scouting agency to affiliated franchise. Depending on the terms of those affiliations, that can also provide cost certainty on prospects in the pipeline for a franchise.
“Having a scouting partnership allows them to keep players in the agency until they are ready and not taking up space on the 40-player list,” explained Millard. “If someone else knocks the scouting agency’s socks off with an offer for that player, then the franchise and agency can discuss the deal. I own a UFHL franchise and have a partnership with a scouting agency, that does this exact thing and with each player we decide whether to sell to another franchise or to ours. It’s paramount if you want to compete to have some sort of scouting affiliation.”
Players on the 2022 Draft Pick Reserve List must be added to the 40-player list once they pass the rookie threshold and franchises will have to decide on them by a date still to be determined after the 2022 UFLB season.
“We will revisit this down the road based on how our minor league system is growing and if we need it for another year, we can look at it and discuss among franchise owners and UFLB admin how we want to handle it in the future,” said Millard.
Franchises have until December 1 to complete a minimum 50% payment on their franchise fee to avoid a 10% penalty. Contact @Liz_UFFSofficial on Telegram or through email email@example.com to make payment.