UFLB Announces Plans for Top Prospects Auction in February

The UFLB franchise auction wrapped up a week ago, and in a few months, franchises and scouts will get a chance to start stocking the cupboards, just before MLB spring training begins.


The UFLB Top Prospects Auction is slated to start Saturday, February 19, featuring the top players in MLB organizations who have yet to play a Major League game.


This one-time event allows all 30 franchises, and all scouts the opportunity to bid on the best and brightest prospects that are already drafted or signed, as chosen by UFLB Directing of Scouting Bryan Hernandez.


“You are going to see rising stars like Julio Rodriguez of the Mariners, who almost wasn’t on this list as the Mariners were thinking of calling him up. Spencer Torkelson is the first basemen of the future for the Tigers and Marco Luciano is a great shortstop in the Giants’ system, who I wish the Dodgers would have drafted,” chuckled Hernandez, who lives in L.A. and bleeds Dodger blue.


The total number of prospects for this auction is still to be determined and will be announced later when Hernandez reveals his full list.

Successful scouts can retain the rights to these prospects until they lose their rookie status — 50+ innings pitched for pitchers, 130+ at-bats for position players, or accumulated 45 days on an MLB active roster. UFLB franchises will have 14 spots available on the 40-man list, which can be a combination of recently drafted prospects and players eligible to be called up to the 26-man active roster.


“I really like the timing of this event for a few reasons,” said Dean Millard, Head of Baseball Operations for UFF Sports. “It gives franchises a few months after the franchise auctions to prepare a budget for the Top Prospects Auction. It also gives us some excitement in the offseason. We’ll have winter owner meetings in January and this Top Prospects Auction in February, then the 26-round Veteran Player Draft and Futures Auction in March before the season gets going in April.”


The Top Prospects Auction will also give those new to Ultimate Franchise Fantasy Sports an introduction into how franchises fill out their 40-man list and how scouts serve as a feeder system for UFLB as a whole.


“This is a very unique league on a number of fronts,” said Millard, who is also serving as UFLB Commissioner. “The scouting platform alone puts UFFS on another level, and franchises will purchase prospects from scouts either in auctions or through direct sales. Scouts are also bidding on players through their annual scouts-only Futures Auction — featuring prospects eligible for future MLB First-Year Player Drafts — as well as registering players on the Open Market for $20 worth of Score Coin (SCO), with each transaction pouring more SCO into UFLB’s progressive prize pool.”



This one-time Top Prospects Auction is a significant revenue generator for the initial prize pool, with all franchises and scouts able to bid on every prospect available. As witnessed in prior sport launches for hockey, American football, and basketball, some big spenders may emerge to load up on top talents, but the entire league benefits from the prize pool injection with $25 from each prospect going towards platform development and the remainder providing that base for the prize pool in addition to 10% from the Franchise Auction revenue. The other sports have voted in favour of spreading that base over three seasons: 55% to Year 1, 35% to Year 2, and 15% to Year 3.


Some franchises may purchase several players from this Top Prospects Auction and some franchises may come away empty-handed. That is the reality, with all these prospects available to the highest bidder. There are no guarantees and franchises are only limited to filling out their 40-man list — meaning a maximum of 14 prospects from this auction. But there are also no obligations to bid or buy any prospects here, and a strong showing in the subsequent Veteran Player Draft can prove very profitable for smaller market franchises that avoided spending in this Top Prospects Auction. Regardless of whether a franchise spends a lot, a little, or none at all, this auction pumps up the prize pool for the entire league.



And it is a one-time event whereas the annual Entry Draft Auction for franchises is the UFLB’s version of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. It is still an auction format, not a standard draft, but franchises need a draft pick within a certain range to be eligible to bid there. Every franchise starts out with 1st and 2nd Round Picks for 2022, 2023 and 2024. For the inaugural Entry Draft Auction in 2022, the draft order will be determined by the overall standings at a particular date before the draft, which will take place the Saturday following the MLB First-Year Player Draft. All other years, the draft order will be determined by the previous season’s standings, mirroring the MLB format. Groupings of five franchises will be bidding on each draft spot. If a franchise wins a bid, they will immediately announce their selection, then the four remaining franchises will be joined by the next franchise in the draft order to bid on the next draft spot. That process continues for the top 60 draft spots (first- and second-round picks).


“There are many ways to build a roster and compete for a playoff spot,” noted Millard. “There are several franchises in the Ultimate Fantasy Hockey League who trade their draft picks every year for assets and don’t ever bid for prosects, and there are other franchises who prefer to draft and develop by stockpiling picks and investing on top prospects through the annual Entry Auction, so you can spend as much or as little as you want and still be competitive. If you know the game and manage your assets to maximize value, the big spenders don’t always win. It is all about strategy and making the system work within your budget.”



Speaking of strategy, UFLB franchises will also want to follow their UFHL, UFAFL and UFBA counterparts when it comes to forming an affiliation with a scouting agency or hiring a scout on their staff.


“That’s a no-brainer, and something I try and make sure every new franchise owner knows about. Forming a partnership with a knowledgeable scout not only allows you to make informed decisions, but also budget-conscious choices as well, depending on the type of deal the scout and franchise have worked out,” said Millard.


Following the Top Prospects Auction, the UFLB’s 26-round Veteran Player Draft will be held on March 5-6, with the inaugural Futures Auction for scouts commencing on Saturday, March 26.


The UFLB Rulebook was recently released and can be found here. For more information, email Dean_UFLB@UFFSports.com or visit www.uffsports.com.


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