Changes to baseball's draft from the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement were evident last Friday as the signing deadline for 2012 picks came and went. But another modification, with potential ramifications for the looming July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, happened Wednesday.
Major League Baseball held its first competitive-balance lottery, with the Royals earning the first of six supplemental first-round draft picks.
“Every year it seems we pick 5 and 65,” Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said. “We've always had to sit back and watch a lot of good players go by, so now this puts a lot of extra players in play.”
The first six lottery selections will follow the 31 first-round choices, as well as any free-agent compensation choices. Because the compensation rules will change dramatically this offseason, there will be fewer supplemental first-rounders than in years past and the lottery selections likely will come at the top of the supplemental round.
As of today, they would be picks Nos. 32-37, which had assigned values ranging from $1.55 million to $1,394,300 this year. Those choices are significantly valuable in terms of stretching teams' signing bonus pools, which averaged $6.3 million in 2012.
Adding to their value, the lottery selections are the first picks in draft history that can be traded. Clubs can deal them (and transfer their bonus-pool values) during this regular season and next, up until two hours before the 2013 draft. An individual lottery pick can't be traded more than once.
“My feeling is everybody’s being real conservative at this point because until today, nobody had anything,” Goldberg said. “It could be a chip once the system settles in. We’re all learning through the newness of the whole process.
"We’re going to learn how to put value on these picks. It’s easier to put a value on a player. I’m not sure what that value’s going to be. I’m not sure anybody is yet.”
Following the Royals with supplemental first-round lottery picks will be the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Orioles, Reds and Marlins. There will be six competitive-balance selections after the second round as well, and those went to the Padres, Indians, Rockies, Athletics, Brewers and Tigers. As of now, the second group of picks would be Nos. 68-73, which ranged in value from $757,900 to $701,700 this year.
The Cardinals and Rays were the only eligible clubs that didn't receive a lottery selection.
The 10 teams with the lowest revenues and the 10 in the smallest markets (with plenty of overlap) were eligible for the first six lottery picks. Clubs that didn't win a pick in that group and any other team that receives revenue-sharing payments (in this case, only the Tigers) were eligible for the second round of lottery choices. The clubs' chances were weighted based on their 2011 winning percentage.
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