The first MLB draft lottery was conducted tonight at the winter meetings. The Pirates received the first overall win, followed by the Nationals and Tigers. Here is the first round:
- diamond markers
- Red Sox
- White socks
- blue jay
In previous years, draft order was set in reverse order of regular season standings. As part of the Players Association’s effort to reduce the incentive for uncompetitive teams to lose games, the latest collective bargaining agreement introduced a lottery to determine the top six overall selections. A team’s odds of making a higher selection are still weighted in favor of the clubs with the worst records, even though the three worst teams all had an identical chance of landing the top pick. All 18 non-playoff teams were technically in contention for one of the top six picks, albeit with progressively fewer chances for clubs with better records. The 12 playoff teams were ranked by season based on their results, with a team’s revenue share status separating teams eliminated in the same round.
This year, the Nationals, A’s and Pirates all had the best chances to secure the No. 1 overall pick. Each club had a 16.5% probability. The Reds (13.25%) and Royals (10%) completed the top five as the only other teams with a 10% or better chance of securing first place. Aside from Pittsburgh, the Twins were the biggest beneficiaries of the new system, finishing in the top five despite having a 13th-worst record. The Royals fell out of the top ten despite finishing fifth overall, while Oakland fell from second-worst to sixth.
The lottery only comes into play for the first round of the draft. Beginning with the second round, the order of picks will be determined in reverse order of the previous season’s rankings, barring compensatory and competitive balance picks.
While the draft order is official, there’s obviously a lot of uncertainty as to which players will be at the top of the class. Baseball America updated its tentative top 100 draft candidates in October, picking LSU’s right fielder Dylan crewsTennessee right-hander Chase Dollander and Ole Miss Shortstop Jacob Gonzales to the most talented prospects. There will be plenty of movement when the amateur baseball circuit restarts next spring.