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Why is there an MLB draft lottery?

The first ever MLB draft lottery will take place on Tuesday, December 6.

The Washington Nationals logo cut into grass above center field during a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on September 18, 2022 in Washington, DC. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Major League Baseball will hold its first-ever MLB draft lottery on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET on MLB Network. Prior to this year, the order of the MLB draft had been determined based on the inverse of the previous season’s standings. The team with the worst record would receive the No. 1 overall pick. This year, there will be a lottery system in place to determine the first six picks in the 2023 MLB draft.

What is a draft lottery?

This draft lottery system was part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that ended the 2022 lockout. Instead of the worst team automatically being awarded the first overall pick, a draft lottery system gives a percentage of odds based on where the team finished in the standings. The three teams with the worst records from the previous season will be given equal odds to land the top pick. This method is thought to prevent tanking, but it is too early to tell if that is working. This lottery only affects the first round, with the remaining rounds reverting back to the inverse of the standings.

How will the draft lottery work?

The 18 teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs are entered into the draft lottery. Based on the standings from last season, the Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics and Pittsburgh Pirates will all have a 16.5% chance at the No. 1 overall pick. They are followed by the Cincinnati Reds (13.2%) and the Kansas City Royals (10%) as the five teams with the best odds. Of the 18 teams eligible, six will be awarded a lottery spot based on this odds system. Once the six slots are determined, the draft order reverts to the inverse of the standings from the previous season for the remaining teams.