The 2022 regular season is officially wrapped up, with the Mets beating the Nationals in the second game of a doubleheader to close out the year. 18 teams now formally turn their attention to 2023, while the postseason will get underway on Friday.
With the standings set for the league’s non-playoff teams, there’s some more clarity about next year’s amateur draft order. Unlike in previous seasons, where the draft order was fixed in the inverse of the prior year’s standings, the 2023 draft will be subject to a lottery. As part of the Players Association’s efforts to reduce the incentive for non-competitive teams to lose games, the latest collective bargaining agreement introduced a lottery to determine the top-six overall selections. A team’s odds of landing a higher pick are still weighted in favor of the clubs with the worst records, although the three worst teams all have identical chances of landing the top selections. All 18 non-playoff teams are technically in the running for any of the top-six picks, albeit with increasingly diminished odds for the clubs with better records. If two teams have the same record, the club with the worse record in the preceding season gets the higher odds.
The lottery only comes into play for the first round of the draft. From the second round onwards, pick order is determined in inverse order of the prior season’s standings (aside from compensatory and competitive balance selections).
Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline and Carlos Collazo of Baseball America each relayed the odds for the first overall pick in next season’s draft.
- Nationals (55-107): 16.5%
- Athletics (60-102): 16.5%
- Pirates (62-100, 61-101 in ’21): 16.5%
- Reds (62-100, 83-79 in ’21): 13.25%
- Royals (65-97): 10%
- Tigers (66-96): 7.5%
- Rangers (68-94, 60-102 in ’21): 5.5%
- Rockies (68-94, 74-87 in ’21): 3.9%
- Marlins (69-93): 2.7%
- Angels (73-89): 1.8%
- Diamondbacks (74-88, 52-110 in ’21): 1.4%
- Cubs (74-88, 71-91 in ’21): 1.1%
- Twins (78-84, 73-89 in ’21): 0.9%
- Red Sox (78-84, 92-70 in ’21): 0.76%
- White Sox (81-81, 93-69 in ’21): 0.62%
- Giants (81-81, 107-55 in ’21): 0.48%
- Orioles (83-79): 0.36%
- Brewers (86-76): 0.23%
The date of the draft lottery has not been formally announced, but Mayo notes it’s expected to take place during the Winter Meetings. Joe Doyle of Prospects Live first reported last month that it’ll be run at the Winter Meetings on Dec. 6.
After the first six selections are drawn, the remainder of the first round will run in inverse order of the standings among the teams not awarded a lottery pick. The Nationals will therefore pick no later than 7th, the A’s will pick no later than 8th, and so on. A team with a record outside the bottom six would only move up if drawn into the top six. The Brewers, for instance, will either win a pick between first and sixth or pick 18th; there is no scenario in which Milwaukee picks between seventh and 17th. If the Orioles don’t win a lottery pick, they’ll either pick 17th or 18th (only moving to 18th if Milwaukee is drawn into the top six).
While the process for the non-playoff teams is relatively straightforward, the ordering for the teams that qualify for the postseason is more complex, Mayo and Collazo report. The playoff teams will first be arranged by the round in which they’re eliminated — teams that lose in the Wild Card Round awarded higher picks than those that lose in the Division Series, teams that lose in the DS before clubs eliminated in the Championship Series, etc.
Within each group of eliminated clubs, teams are first sorted by revenue sharing status. Collazo reports that revenue sharing recipients will receive higher priority over non revenue sharing-recipients. Thus, the loser of the Rays – Guardians Wild Card series (both teams are revenue sharing recipients) would receive a higher selection than the loser of the Cardinals – Phillies series (neither team receives revenue sharing). Teams eliminated in the same round with the same revenue sharing status are then ordered by their reverse regular season win percentage.
While it won’t affect the order of the 2023 draft, the new CBA also introduced restrictions on teams qualifying for the lottery in consecutive seasons. Clubs that don’t receive revenue sharing are ineligible to earn a lottery pick in consecutive years. Teams that do receive revenue sharing aren’t permitted to receive a lottery pick for more than two straight years.
It looks as if the draft order will be settled two months from now, but there’s obviously plenty of uncertainty as to which players will be at the top of the class. Baseball America updated its preliminary top 100 draft prospects last month, slotting LSU right fielder Dylan Crews, Tennessee right-hander Chase Dollander and Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez among the most talented prospects. There’ll obviously be plenty of movement once the amateur baseball circuit kicks back off next winter and spring.