Pirates land No.1 pick in first-ever draft lottery


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Joshua Peacock.

PNC Park, the Pirates’ home stadium, Pittsburgh, PA., Aug. 9, 2016.

The first Major League Baseball (MLB) draft lottery was held last week with the Pittsburgh Pirates walking away with the first overall selection. Six teams were fighting for the first pick, including the Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics rounding out the top six picks, respectively.

In the latest collective bargaining agreement, which establishes certain terms and conditions that both the MLB and the players’ association must follow under the agreement, the two parties decided to implement a lottery for the 18 teams that do not reach the postseason. Odds for the first pick ranged from 16.5 percent, shared by the Pirates, Nationals and Cincinnati Reds, all the way down to 0.2 percent, held by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Pittsburgh now holds the first overall pick for the second time in three years and the sixth time in franchise history. Their last selection at number one overall was former University of Louisville catcher Henry Davis, who is currently with the team’s AA affiliate, Altoona Curve.

Picks 7-18 were determined by the team’s winning percentage in reverse order during the regular season, followed by how teams fared in the postseason, slotting teams in by which round they were eliminated. The draft will stay capped out at 20 rounds, with rounds 2-20 being slotted fully in reverse order of the team’s win percentage and postseason finish.

The MLB put rules in place for the lottery to prevent further “tanking,” prohibiting small-market teams from entering the lottery for three consecutive years and large-market teams from entering back-to-back years. There were also 1,001 possible four-number combinations that were given out to teams prior to the lottery, and the higher the team’s odds of holding the first pick, the more combinations they had.

Oakland was seen as one of the largest drops in the draft, falling from the highest odds of winning the number one pick all the way down to the sixth pick. The biggest winner of the lottery was Minnesota, who started with the 13th best odds and walked away with the fifth overall pick.

The 2023 MLB Draft will be taking place in July in Seattle, with the Pirates officially on the clock. Pittsburgh is in the middle of a rebuild, and they have another chance to grab any player of their choosing to become a potential franchise cornerstone. Louisiana State outfielder Dylan Crews is the current number-one prospect in the draft, who has the potential to be a true five-tool player for a team that has lacked a true face of the franchise in recent years.