UFLB Reveals Much Anticipated Top Prospects List for Upcoming Auction
Updated: Feb 2, 2022
For months UFLB franchises and scouts have been guessing what names would appear on the Top Prospects List from UFLB Director of Scouting Bryan Hernandez, and today they get to open that present like it’s Christmas day!
Hernandez has been compiling and tweaking his list for several months and today released the 142 players that will be available for franchises and scouts to select in the one-time Top Prospects Auction slated for Saturday, February 19 through Monday, February 21. This initial event for the UFLB launch will see franchises and scouts bidding on draft spots and selecting their preferred prospects from the list provided by Hernandez. The winning bidder will immediately select their prospect within the auction room.
“Putting this list together has been a real passion project and it was a balance of not only finding the right players, but the right number, which came down to 142,” said Hernandez.
The list consists of some of the top prospects who are part of MLB organizations but have yet to play a big-league game, and it will be exciting to see how competitive the bidding gets.
“February 19th is going to be a great day when the auction begins. I can think back to past auctions in other sports and a lot of money was spent on the future of the game,” said UFFS Head of Baseball Dean Millard. “This is a big deal for UFLB, as only $25 dollars from each auction spot goes to the platform, the rest all goes to the prize pool and gives it a massive boost.”
Some of the prospects are 2021 draft picks and could take a while to reach UFLB rosters, but Hernandez is confident there will be a decent number of players who will see time in the majors — and in UFLB — this season.
“There are definitely guys who will play in the big leagues this year — when is the big question,” mused Hernandez. “We only saw Wander Franco for 70 games last season, so I think we’ll see guys make the jump, but whether or not they can make a big impact in Year 1 is a question nobody has the answer to right now.”
Of the 142 prospects, 50 are pitchers meaning UFLB franchises and scouts will have a lot of options when it comes to position players and hitters as well as the games next best arms.
"Shortstops, Corner Base players and Pitchers are the top three positions. Baseball teams seem to love shortstops as well as a lot of these players are playing that position."
Hernandez won’t reveal who he thinks are the best players on his list, but the long-time Dodger fan does admit to having some favourites among the 142 top prospects.
“I’ll be cheering a little harder when certain players get selected, that’s for sure,” chuckled Hernandez, who will be the man in charge of the three-day auction.
Overall, Hernandez’s list will provide franchises a chance to fill some protected spots, whether that is with players knocking on the door of UFLB or prospects who will take more time to develop. Scouts will also have to make that choice, as any scout bidding on a player who is close to making the big leagues must realize the potential for a forced auction when the player is no longer rookie eligible. Franchises can trigger forced auctions when a scout-owned player reaches 130 career at-bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days accumulated on an MLB team’s 26-man active roster.
“It’s quite a gamble to try and outbid all 30 franchises for a player who is close to being ready, as the turnaround time to a forced auction could be quick, and that could impact the ROI the scout is looking for,” explained Millard. “I expect franchises to be the most active while scouts will try and go after some of the guys who can up their value and raise their stock over the next 2-3 years before being sold to franchises.”
The starting bid for each spot will be $25 USD worth of SCO, and in the rare case of no bids on a spot, any remaining players would go to the Open Market following the Futures Auction (March 26-28) and the International Free Agent Auction (April 2). Any leftovers and the best of the rest will be available on the Open Market for a flat rate of $20 USD worth of SCO, which is where scouts are able to register players on a first-come, first-serve basis. Finders keepers!
Please reach out to Bryan Hernandez (Bryan_UFLB@UFFSports.com) for more information. Franchises and scouts will need to register with Bryan ahead of these auctions.
Without further ado, here is the list of 142 players for the UFLB Top Prospects Auction:
P Grayson Rodriguez – Baltimore Orioles
SS Jordan Groshans – Toronto Blue Jays
P Daniel Espino – Cleveland Guardians
2B Nick Gonzales – Pittsburgh Pirates
CF Alek Thomas – Arizona Diamondbacks