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Friday 19th Jan 2018

I spent this past weekend splitting my time between watching St. Louis Cardinals prospects in the Arizona Fall League and participating as a speaker in BaseballHQ’s First Pitch Forum. Of course, a side benefit was catching up with many long-time baseball friends.

I’ve participated in the event for the last decade and continued to be energized each November.

The First Pitch Forum, while targeted at fantasy baseball players, has a lot of relevant content for any fan of the game. For example, I moderated a session with two professional scouts – Jason Grey of the Rays and Deric McKamey of the Cardinals.

The two are among the best minds in their field and I am proud to call both friends. Jason was one of the founders of this site, later writing for MLB, SI and ESPN while Deric initiated the very popular and valuable Minor League Forecaster. Their insight was most enlightening. Their greatest strengths may be their encyclopedic knowledge of hundreds of prospects. I find it amazing.

Those who are serious about fantasy baseball – and I am certainly among them – can get everything they want from the detailed sessions. Speakers/industry luminaries are available in group settings, individual sessions and in informal discussions.

The most fun I had all weekend was sharing an open forum to analyze National League rosters of meeting attendees. I shared the two-plus hour block with BaseballHQs Phil Hertz (a vanquished Michigan fan). We had a blast discussing fantasy rosters with a rotating group of meeting attendees.

Other than the annual Tout Wars drafts, held each March in New York, First Pitch offers the only opportunity each year for the Mastersball team to meet face to face.

Along with my very talented partners Todd Zola and Lawr Michaels, staff writers Don Drooker and Perry Van Hook were excellent hosts. All five of us competed in Friday’s annual Xperts Fantasy League auction draft – held without the benefit of any supporting materials. Macho drafting!

Of course, we all attended multiple days/nights of Arizona Fall League games, including Saturday night’s Rising Stars Showcase.

As they say, a great time was had by all!

Note: Be aware that we have opened up 2013 subscriptions to Mastersball.com. We provided projections to four of the top five finishers in the 2012 National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC), including the $100,000 winner, Dave Potts.

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 14-year history. Though he is the only one to remember or care, he also finished second in each of the two subsequent seasons. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com and in-season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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