The new Collective Bargaining Agreement, agreed to between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association in the 2021/22 offseason, brought about one very big change to the draft by instituting a draft lottery, similar to several other sports leagues.
Beginning in 2023, the first six draft picks will be assigned via this lottery, with the teams featuring the previous season’s worst three records getting the best chance at having the number one overall pick (16.5% each), and the fifteen remaining non-playoff teams receiving declining percentages in order of their records, down to 0.23 percent for the team with the highest winning percentage to miss the playoffs.
In other words, if the season were to start today, the Athletics, Pirates, and Nationals would have equal chances to secure the first-overall pick. The next five picks would be assigned to the remaining non-playoff teams, down to the Milwaukee Brewers with the slightest chance of receiving one.
There are a few other miscellany: Teams receiving revenue-sharing payouts can’t receive a lottery pick for more than two years in a row, teams that don’t receive revenue-sharing payouts can’t get a top-six pick in consecutive drafts, and clubs that are ineligible for the lottery can’t select higher than tenth overall.
Since the announcement in early March, however, further details have been pretty sparse, including when the lottery would take place.
However, Joe Doyle of Prospects Live announced on Twitter that, per his sources, Major League Baseball would be holding the lottery on December 6th, during the Winter Meetings in San Diego, California.
On the surface, this is a time that makes a lot of sense for MLB, with all teams having delegates present, and some level of media attention focused on the league. This would put the lottery in close proximity to the Rule 5 Draft, which typically occurs at the end of the Winter Meetings. The Rule 5 Draft was canceled in 2021 due to the lockout, but is expected to return this offseason.
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