SAN DIEGO -- Major League Baseball conducted its first Draft Lottery on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, and the Pirates walked away with the biggest prize: the No. 1 pick in the 2023 Draft.
The Nationals secured the second pick, the Tigers will select third and the Rangers fourth. The Twins procured pick No. 5 while the A’s rounded out the top six as determined by the lottery.
"We’re incredibly excited, honored to be in this position with the first Draft lottery," Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said. "Young players are such an important part of our future, and we’re excited to make the first selection next year.
"Every once in a while in this game, as we all know, it helps to get a little bounce and we got one tonight. That’s exciting."
The Pirates and Nationals were two of the three teams with the highest percentage chance (16.5 percent each) to get the No. 1 overall pick, along with the A’s, by virtue of having the three worst records in 2022. All 18 non-playoff teams had the chance to land the top pick, with declining percentages in reverse order of their records.
Of the teams that landed a top-six pick, the Rangers (ranked No. 7 based off their 5.5 percent chance to land the first pick) and the Twins (ranked No. 13 with 0.9 percent chance) were able to beat the odds to an extent. The Tigers, moving from No. 6 to No. 3, also improved their standing.
On the flip side of that coin were teams that lost ground compared to an order based on record only, as it has been in the past. The A’s dropped from No. 2 to No. 6 and the Reds, who would have picked fourth, will instead pick seventh. The Royals also slipped three spots, going from No. 5 to No. 8.
The order was determined shortly before the results were revealed on MLB Network. PricewaterhouseCoopers oversaw the lottery, and JJ Cooper of Baseball America was the designated pool reporter who was in the room during the drawing process.
The remaining non-playoff teams in the lottery that didn’t land in the top six will pick in the first round based on reverse order of 2022 record, meaning the top 18 picks look like this. The numbers in parentheses denote where the teams ranked in the lottery odds:
1. Pirates (T-1)
2. Nationals (T-1)
3. Tigers (6)
4. Rangers (7)
5. Twins (13)
6. A’s (T-1)
7. Reds (4)
8. Royals (5)
9. Rockies (8)
10. Marlins (9)
11. Angels (10)
12. D-backs (11)
13. Cubs (12)
14. Red Sox (14)
15. White Sox (15)
16. Giants (16)
17. Orioles (17)
18. Brewers (18)
The Pirates will pick No. 1 overall for the second time in three years, having taken catcher Henry Davis with the top pick in 2021. They also selected first in 2011 (Gerrit Cole), 2002 (Bryan Bullington), 1996 (Kris Benson) and 1986 (Jeff King). This will be the fourth Draft in a row with the Pirates picking in the top 10. They selected Termarr Johnson No. 4 in 2022 and Nick Gonzales with the seventh overall selection in 2020.
Teams that receive revenue-sharing payouts can't receive a lottery pick for more than two years in a row, and those that don't get revenue-sharing payments can't get a top-six choice in consecutive Drafts. Furthermore, a club that's ineligible for the lottery can't select higher than 10th overall.
The Draft will remain at 20 rounds, and after the first round, the non-postseason teams will choose in reverse order of winning percentage. In all 20 rounds, the playoff clubs will choose in reverse order of their postseason finish (Wild Card losers, Division Series losers, Championship Series losers, World Series loser, World Series winner). Within each of those playoff groups, teams are sorted by revenue-sharing status and then reverse order of winning percentage. That means picks 19-28 in the first round will look like this (Complete Draft order can be found here.):
20. Blue Jays
The Mets and Dodgers exceeded the initial competitive-balance tax threshold of $230 million by more than $40 million as projected, so their first selections will drop 10 spots.
With six picks, MLB's lottery extends deeper than that of any major U.S. sports league. The NBA's first four choices and the NHL's top two are subject to a lottery, while the NFL has none.