Explaining the Competitive Balance Lottery of the MLB Draft

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Explaining the Competitive Balance Lottery of the MLB Draft
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

One of the top priorities of the commissioner’s office during MLB’s last collective bargaining agreement negotiations was to add new rules to the draft, which are designed to both contain costs and promote competitive balance. 

We have already seen one effect of these negotiations, as the new cap on bonuses helped to rein in the cost of talent, particularly in the first round.  It also may have played a role in Stanford’s Mark Appel, who was widely regarded as the top pitching prospect available, dropping all the way to Pittsburgh with the eighth pick (the Pirates, incidentally, were the only team that failed to sign their first-rounder this year).

But another part of the draft overhaul was the creation of a new Competitive Balance Lottery, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday.

In this lottery, every team that is one of the ten smallest-market and/or the ten lowest-revenue franchises (theoretically, the teams that need the most help) will be eligible to win an extra pick in the 2013 draft.

A total of 13 teams will participate in this year’s lottery: 

Arizona Diamondbacks

Baltimore Orioles

Cleveland Indians

Kansas City Royals

Oakland A’s

Pittsburgh Pirates

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San Diego Padres

Tampa Bay Rays

Cincinnati Reds

Colorado Rockies

Miami Marlins

Milwaukee Brewers

St. Louis Cardinals

The odds of winning the lottery are determined by each team’s winning percentage from the previous year, with the Orioles having the best odds of the first pick and the Brewers having the worst.  A total of 12 picks will be awarded, with six coming at the end of the first round (after all the compensation picks) and six at the end of the second. 

Any team that received funds in revenue sharing will also be eligible for one of the six picks in the second round, though no team can be awarded multiple picks. 

Another wrinkle to these picks is that they can be traded, though there are some limits.

Only the team that is awarded the pick can trade it, meaning that no pick can be traded more than once.  These picks can also only be traded during the regular season, so they will not be a part of any deals at the 2012 winter meetings.

They will, however, be available for dealing before the July 31st trade deadline.  In fact, there is a very good chance that a trade involving one of these picks will have a direct impact on which team wins the NL Central this season.

Is anyone else hoping that, upon being awarded an extra pick, the Pirates or Orioles decide to include it as part of a deadline deal that nets them an established major leaguer from a high-revenue club?  

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