More than ever, baseball is a global game, and MLB has several different systems when it comes to international players — whether young or old, prospect or pro. In UFLB, there will also be a few different ways for franchises and scouts to acquire the fantasy rights to international players through auctions or by registering them on the Open Market.
UFLB Director of Scouting Bryan Hernandez has announced the age distinction that UFLB will use to determine which auction a player will be placed in.
A player will be considered an amateur if they are 24 years old or younger as of June 1 for the year of the auction. So, if the auction is in June 2022 and the player turns 25 on August 15, they would be considered an amateur. Anyone 25 and over before June 1 will be considered a professional. This was a process that took a lot of time and consideration to try and come up with the best and least confusing system for UFLB franchise owners and scouts.
“The hardest part about setting it up was trying to stay true to the actual systems for international players but making it functional for our league,” said Hernandez, who is busy compiling his list of players for the Top Prospects Auction in February. “Our GMs and scouts can’t actually talk to the players, so we had to come up with a system that would be similar and having a specific auction for just international players was the best option.”
Here is an overview of the three auction types involving international players:
“These players will be coming from NPB in Japan and KBO in Korea for Asian players, and Central and South America as well as the Caribbean Islands for the young Latin players,” explained Hernandez.
Scouts will then be able to sell directly to UFLB franchises or put the player up for auction when the player’s MLB rights are owned. Once a player loses his rookie status of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in MLB, the player will automatically go up for a 24-hour auction.
Hernandez will be kept busy with scouts finding players all over the globe and was quick to answer what he’s most looking forward to.
“The game plans for scouts. Seeing which scouts are going to prioritize international prospects over others because a lot of these players could be big hits or misses, and especially when we decide to roll out our UFFS WBC league and other pro baseball leagues around the world.”
The one caveat with the International Player system is the ability to find accurate information and statistics to use.
“We have to make sure we can source all the player profiles and data for these young prospects from around the world,” said Dean Millard, Head of Baseball for UFF Sports. “We are working on finding that info for our databases as we speak, but if we can’t, then we will have to look at other options. We want to make sure the information is correct, first and foremost.”
The Asian Player Posting Auction will take place in December in a normal offseason, but the first event will happen at a TBD date after the veteran player draft in March of 2022.
Meanwhile, the first Competition Committee for UFLB was announced this week and will consist of five members. Joining Millard and Hernandez will be UFLB Director of Competition Matt Soren and Director of Recruitment Gerald Smiley, as well as Larry Fisher, who serves in a number of roles as a UFFS executive.
“Having sat on the UFHL Competition Committee last year, I know how important of a role this is, and thankfully we didn’t have to make a lot of decisions,” laughed Millard. “The committee’s role will be to ensure rules are not broken, not to make sure trades are fair. There’s always a gazelle and a lion and we can’t stop nature from taking place. However, if a trade doesn’t pass the smell test or there are other rulings that need to be made, I know this committee will be up for the challenge.”
Fisher will be the tie-breaking vote if needed on any rulings and brings valuable experience when it comes to UFFS and fantasy sports.
A reminder that franchises must have 50% of their franchise fee paid by December 1 to avoid a 10% penalty on the purchase price from their winning bid in the UFLB Franchise Auction. Please email email@example.com set up a payment plan.