Draft Lottery tonight: Who will get No. 1 pick? (MLB Network, 5:30 ET)

December 5th, 2023

Once upon a time, and for a long time, Major League Baseball’s final regular-season standings would, for the most part, determine the following year’s Draft order. Take the reverse order of standings and, voila, that’s how teams would pick.

Starting last year, thanks to the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement, that script has changed. Now, the non-playoff teams are entered into a lottery for the top six picks in the Draft. The lottery will take place at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday. It will be broadcast live on MLB Network beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET, and a simulcast will be streamed on MLB.com. Country music superstar Brad Paisley will join as a guest presenter.

This year, 17 of the 18 non-playoff teams are eligible for the lottery, listed here in order of odds with each team’s winning percentage in parentheses.

18.3 pct -- Athletics (.309)
18.3 -- Royals (.346)
18.3 -- Rockies (.364)
14.7 -- White Sox (.377)
8.3 -- Cardinals (.438)
6.1 -- Angels (.451)
4.3 -- Mets (.463)
3.0 -- Pirates (.469)
2.0 -- Guardians (.469)
1.6 -- Tigers (.481)
1.2 -- Red Sox (.481)
1.0 -- Giants (.488)
0.9 -- Reds (.506)
0.7 -- Padres (.506)
0.6 -- Yankees (.506)
0.4 -- Cubs (.512)
0.2 -- Mariners (.543)
0.0 -- Nationals (.438 -- ineligible for lottery pick)

Washington is ineligible for this year’s lottery because teams that are “payor clubs” -- clubs that give, rather than receive, revenue sharing dollars -- are not allowed to be selected in consecutive lotteries. Because the Nationals were selected last year, their odds are reduced to zero this year even though they finished with the fifth-worst record in baseball in 2023. Additionally, the Nationals may not receive better than the 10th overall pick. They would only select lower than that if all of four clubs that finished with a worse record are not selected in the lottery, and the chances of that are less than .03%.

The Mets, Yankees and Padres are in the lottery, but because they exceeded the second surcharge threshold of the competitive balance tax, they will have their first overall pick dropped 10 spots -- unless they get a top six pick in the lottery, in which case their second-highest pick will be dropped 10 spots.

Outside of those caveats, any team in the lottery that doesn't land one of the top six picks will select in reverse order of standings for picks 7-18.

The order of the postseason teams are determined by when they get eliminated and their revenue-sharing status. Those 12 teams will choose in the following order: Wild Card Series losers, Division Series losers, Championship Series losers, World Series loser, World Series winner. Within each of those groups, clubs will be sorted by revenue-sharing status, with payee clubs selecting before non-payee clubs. If two or more clubs have identical winning percentages in the immediately preceding championship season, the selection order of those clubs will be determined by winning percentage in the next prior championship season, with any remaining ties resolved by the tied clubs’ respective championship season winning percentages in each preceding year, until the tie is broken.

Here's the Draft order for the 12 postseason teams:

19. Marlins (.519)
20. Brewers (.568)
21. Rays (.611)
22. Blue Jays (.549)
23. Twins (.537)
24. Orioles (.623)
25. Dodgers (.617)
26. Braves (.642)
27. Phillies (.556)
28. Astros (.556)
29. D-backs (.519)
30. Rangers (.556)

The D-backs and Orioles have selections after the first round by virtue of Prospect Promotion Incentive picks, which are awarded to teams that have a player who was rated as a preseason Top 100 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Baseball America, and/or ESPN (at least two of the three) and goes on to win Rookie of the Year or finish in the top three in the MVP or Cy Young voting after starting the season on his team's Opening Day roster.

31. D-backs (received for Corbin Carroll winning Rookie of the Year)
32. O's (received for Gunnar Henderson winning Rookie of the Year)

And the Twins will have a pick immediately following the PPI picks as compensation for Sonny Gray, who signed with the Cardinals after rejecting his qualifying offer from Minnesota.

33. Twins (received as compensation for Sonny Gray)

Last year, in the Draft Lottery, the Pirates won the first pick, enabling them to take Paul Skenes. They were tied with the Nationals and A’s with the best odds to win. The Nats ended up with the second pick, while the A’s ended up picking sixth. The Twins, who were 13th in terms of lottery odds to win the No. 1 pick, vaulted up to No. 5.

After the first round, the lottery results won't affect picks 1-18, which will be in reverse order of winning percentage.