Updated: Nov 13, 2021
UFLB Unveils the Third Edition of The List: Hernandez and Thomas’ Top 30 Franchise Players from MLB
As the Astros and Braves meet in the World Series, it’s crystal clear how well Houston and Atlanta have built their lineups over time. Soon it’ll be up to UFLB owners to do the same, after they are successful in the franchise auctions November 5-7. To help them decide where they should be trying to land in the bidding, here are two more Top 30 lists from some experienced fantasy baseball pros. Bryan Hernandez is the Director of Scouting for UFLB and has his finger on the pulse of the game’s future. Jamie Thomas is the Director of Scouting for UFAFL and has been a fantasy baseball owner and commissioner for 20 years. While both gentlemen know the future, how will they do at listing the top 30 players right now in fantasy baseball? “I wanted my list to be 50/50. My list was half young talent and half players who are still dominant now and have great legends league value too” said Hernandez alluding to Legends League Baseball which will see the best retired players take the field again. Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto topped Hernandez’s list and it’s hard to argue with it when you factor in Soto turned 23 yesterday (October 25th, 2021) and finished top 5 in MVP voting in 2020.
“I have Juan Soto there because at 23 years old, he is the by far one of the best young players in the game” said Hernandez reflecting on his top 5 that also included Fernando Tatis Jr., Ronald Acuna Jr., Luis Roberts, and a guy with less than 400 career at bats, Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays who was called up late in the 2021 regular season and playoffs. “Wander Franco in my top 5 was honestly an accident. I was thinking of the best young talents in the game and his name was one of the first to pop up in my head.” Youth was served with Hernandez’s list as the first player 30 or older to show up was Mike Trout at 15. “What I loved about Bryan’s list was he went 100% dynasty strategy, taking the best young players early before mixing in some older veterans who will also have Legends League value” said Dean Millard, Head of Baseball Operations for Ultimate Franchise Fantasy Sports. “I wanted my list to be 50/50. My list was half young talent and half players who are still dominate now and have great legends league value too” offered Hernandez who worked in some veteran pitchers like Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom.
“You can see the Director of Scouting influence on this list, and you can tell he’s been following these players for years” said Millard who is also UFLB Commissioner. As for who didn’t make the list, one guy was tough for Hernandez to leave off the list. “Corey Seager. Since I’m such a big Dodger fan but he barely missed the cut and I didn’t know who to cut for him” said Hernandez. Joining Hernandez on this edition of The List is his football colleague, Jamie Thomas who holds the position of Director of Scouting for Ultimate Fantasy American Football League. He’s also been playing fantasy baseball for 20 years and has commissioned many leagues. Thomas went with the Padres Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. with his #1 spot, and he wasted no time with it either. “Tatis is never a hard choice to go number one in my opinion, sure he fell off a little towards the end when the Padres started to fall apart, but the potential alone for this guy made it a no brainer” said Thomas, who like Hernandez is also a Dodgers fan.
Thomas had more veterans show up on his list in the top 15 than Hernandez, but that didn’t mean he was eying the Legends League with this exercise. “I didn’t really think about the Legends League to be honest. I’m kind of a ‘what will you do for the next 5-7 years’ person.” The super stars on Thomas’ list should all be big contributors during that time frame, including Mike Trout, whom Thomas ranked 12th. “I just feel Trout is being replaced by younger kids of the game right now. It doesn’t help that he missed a huge chunk of 2021 and hasn’t played more than 140 games since 2016. Wear and tear from being an amazing two-way baseball player doesn’t help him in keeping the mantle as the best fantasy player in my opinion.” Both lists, along with the ones from Matt Soren, Jordan Blundell and Millard show just how differently some view starting up a dynasty league. “Jamie’s list is more of a win now ranking I feel, while Bryan has more of a long-term focus, while still able to contribute right now as young players are dominating MLB and doing it right out of the gate in their careers. I love the range of opinions on how to build a team and I can’t wait to see what the 30 different owners or groups do at the draft in March” said Millard while watching game one of the World Series. Look for a new edition of The List every Monday afternoon leading up to the franchise auctions, November 5-7. All bidders must be registered in advance. The UFLB Rulebook was recently released and can be found here. For more information email Dean_UFLB@UFFSports.com or visit www.uffsports.com.