A's end up with 4th pick in 2024 MLB Draft

December 6th, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The A’s were hopeful that their second foray into the MLB Draft Lottery would produce a better fortune than what transpired a year ago, when they ended up with the sixth overall pick despite being tied for best odds to land the top selection. For good measure, they enlisted Oakland legend Dave Stewart to represent the club as a good-luck charm during the selection process.

Different year, same sinking result.

Despite finishing last season with the worst record in baseball, the A’s came away from the lottery held inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort on Tuesday with the No. 4 overall selection for the 2024 MLB Draft. Of the three clubs (A’s, Royals, Rockies) with a 18.3 percent chance at landing pick No. 1, Oakland was one of two teams to fall out of the top three. Colorado received the No. 3 overall pick, while Kansas City slid to No. 6. The Guardians (2.0 percent odds) and Reds (0.9 percent) came away with picks No. 1 and 2.

“Same as last year,” Forst said when asked to describe his level of disappointment. “I don’t know if I can articulate that.”

The A’s, who will be entering year three of a rebuild next season, will also receive a tough blow as a result of the changes to the Draft through the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Because the A’s are a team that receives revenue-sharing payouts and have received a lottery pick for two years in a row, they are now ineligible for next year’s lottery and can’t select higher than 10th overall.

“This is the program they set up in the last CBA, so this is what happens,” Forst said. “There are 20 [front office] men and women up in our suite who weren’t trying to lose last year and probably deserved a higher pick than we got. That’s kind of what my thoughts are right now.”

Perhaps the greater impact of this outcome is the bonus-pool allocation. Last year, the difference in bonus-pool money for the A’s between the potential first pick they were in contention for and the sixth pick they ultimately received was roughly $3 million.

“The advantage of a higher pick is having a higher pool,” Forst said. “You get access to the first couple of players. But the biggest advantage is having a bigger pool with more flexibility later on [in the Draft].”

While Tuesday’s development is no doubt frustrating, Oakland still ended up with their highest Draft pick since 1998, when they took future “Big Three” member Mark Mulder second overall out of Michigan State University. Even with last year’s result, the A’s still feel good about who they took sixth in shortstop Jacob Wilson, who now ranks as the club’s No. 1 prospect.

Whom might the A’s take fourth overall come July? Draft boards will likely fluctuate over the next several months. MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis recently took a shot at predicting the top 10 picks of the 2024 MLB Draft, with Callis projecting Wake Forest right-hander Chase Burns at No. 4. West Virginia shortstop JJ Wetherholt, Wake Forest first baseman Nick Kurtz and Oregon State second baseman Travis Bazzana rank as the top three picks.

“It’s too soon for me to have dug into the Draft class,” Forst said. “Last year it turned out that it looked like a five-player Draft and then a gap. But we’re really happy with where Jacob is at right now. I don’t see that paradigm in this year’s Draft, but I don’t know the class well enough to know for sure.”