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MLB Draft lottery today: How does it work? Each teams’ odds of winning

Now in its second year, MLB’s Draft Lottery kicks off on Tuesday at the league’s Winter Meetings and we expect it to be quite a rollercoaster ride.

Now in its second year, MLB’s Draft Lottery kicks off on Tuesday at the league’s Winter Meetings and we expect it to be quite a rollercoaster ride.

In a move intended to push back on the practice of tanking, the league’s most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement introduced the Draft Lottery. It is of course still up for debate as to whether it has had the intended effect, but no matter how you cut it, this year’s Draft Lottery is going to be interesting.

How does the MLB Draft Lottery work?

Off the bat, the MLB Draft lottery chooses the top six picks in the 2024 MLB Draft. Now, what’s interesting to note is that, unlike the NBA and NFL, the odds of the league’s teams aren’t simply determined by ordering them from worst to best. The reason for that is because of MLB’s rules related to revenue sharing which can result in some teams being ineligible for the lottery. That’s the case with the Washington Nationals this year who will not be part of the Draft Lottery.

To make things clear, any team that gives rather than receives money in the league’s revenue-sharing program can’t participate in the lottery in consecutive years. In keeping with that, the Nationals can’t pick any higher than 10th even though they ended this most recent season with the fifth-worst record. Why did the league implement this rule? To prevent teams from larger markets opting to not spend which in turn would result in them acquiring a top-five pick in consecutive drafts i.e., they can’t tank. Apart from this, it’s also important to note the rule relating to the luxury tax. If we take a look at the Mets, Padres, and Yankees all of whom are in the lottery, their first-round picks will be shifted 10 slots down if it’s not selected in the lottery due to the fact that they passed the second luxury tax limit. Should any of them manage to get a top-six pick, they will be allowed to retain it, however, their second-highest pick will move down 10 slots. Aside from the aforementioned factors, yes, non-postseason teams are ordered from worst to best, with the three worst teams from the previous season having the best odds for the No. 1 pick.

So, what are the odds for the 2023 MLB Draft Lottery?

OK, as we mentioned before, all non-playoff teams have an equal shot at landing one of the top six picks in the draft, though odds decrease as they move up the standings. To be clear, the odds for the three worst teams are the same as this in theory removes any incentive to be the worst team in the league i.e., a tanker. If you didn’t know, the Oakland Athletics were the worst team in MLB this past season. Take a look below to see the full list of teams and their odds.

  1. Oakland Athletics: 18.3%
  2. Kansas City Royals: 18.3%
  3. Colorado Rockies: 18.3%
  4. Chicago White Sox: 14.7%
  5. Washington Nationals
  6. St. Louis Cardinals: 8.3%
  7. Los Angeles Angels: 6.1%
  8. New York Mets: 4.3%
  9. Pittsburgh Pirates: 3.0%
  10. Cleveland Guardians: 2.0%
  11. Detroit Tigers: 1.6%
  12. Boston Red Sox: 1.2%
  13. San Francisco Giants: 1.0%
  14. Cincinnati Reds: 0.9%
  15. San Diego Padres: 0.7%
  16. New York Yankees: 0.6%
  17. Chicago Cubs: 0.4%
  18. Seattle Mariners: 0.2%

How are the other draft slots decided?

Traditionally, the draft’s order was based purely on the regular-season standings. Now that the league has not only added the Draft Lottery but also switched to determining the non-lottery draft order by postseason finish, things are a little different. Indeed, rather than seeing the Atlanta Braves who finished with a league-best 104 wins pick 30th, it will be the World Series champion Texas Rangers.