UK Invitional 2022

One word sums up the 2022 campaign “oof”. With co-manager, Tom Pringle out of the picture for the whole season, it was left up to me. That was a mistake.

We knew that 2021 was a rebuilding year but an offseason rule change to the keepers did us no favours with several in-season pickups (Shane McClanahan, Nestor Cortes Jr., Keibert Ruiz, Logan Webb) all being deemed ineligible as keepers.

The 12-team, 5×5 roto has Saves & Holds instead of just saves (GOOD) and OPS instead of AVG (BAD). OPS rewards players like the 2021 version of Franmil Reyes and Joey Gallo. I mention those two as we kept Reyes, and targeted Gallo in the auction but were outbid.

In fact, we were outbid for most of our targets as we went full-on stars and scrubs. We invested $173 of our $260 budget on three players: Juan Soto, Mike Trout, and Jacob deGrom.

In truth, our finishing position of 12th out of 12 probably flattered us. We were fifth in HR and sixth in OPS but Runs, RBI and SB were poor. However, it was the pitching that really let us down. Obviously, deGrom was on the IL most of the season but drafting Zack Greinke, Huascar Ynoa, Hyun Jin Ryu, and Matt Brash required a lot of speculative rotation moves.

And the daily lineup changes and the twice-weekly (Tuesday & Friday) FAAB proved too tricky for someone with my attention span.


The champion was debutant, James Holden. He led from the start to the finish and never looked in any danger. Although he modestly put it down to luck, it was a majestic campaign.

Fair play to runner-up Adam Nicholson for pushing James for the entire season.


The previous two winners have suffered a post-championship slump so it will be interesting to see how James’ 2023 unfolds.

As for us, I really don’t know. Stars and scrubs is workable if I (or we) can be a little bit more attentive to the in-season management.

Probable keepers include: Will Smith ($16) and Wander Franco ($15). It feels unlikely that Soto, Trout, or deGrom are kept at $5 inflation on their 2022 salary, although it is tough to release premier talent.

We will need to work out which of the cheap, in-season hitter pick-ups are kept: Luis Urias, Yandy Diaz, Gunnar Henderson, Jon Berti, Joey Gallo, Ty France, and Brandon Drury.

The pitching options look better with Spencer Strider, Tyler Glasnow, Michael Kopech, MacKenzie Gore, Jesus Luzardo, and Jack Flaherty all as cheap, potential keepers.

The five-player minor roster will prove challenging. Either we keep MJ Melendez, Triston Casas, Bryson Stott, and Steven Kwan in the minors, promote them (at a $6 salary), or release them.

Fingers crossed that I am available at the end of March, as this will be the first live, in-person auction in which I have participated.

Featured image of Juan Soto and Mike Trout by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

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