Rockies Win Competitive-Balance Lottery

The Astros and Marlins may be in a race for the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, but the Rockies secured a top selection of their own by winning Major League Baseball’s competitive-balance lottery this afternoon.

MLB announced the results of the second competitive-balance lottery, a provision of the Collective Bargaining Agreement it negotiated with the union after the 2011 season, and the Rockies won the rights to the first of six selections that will follow the final pick of the first round. The next five slots will go to the Orioles, Indians, Marlins, Royals and Brewers in Round A. Baltimore, Miami and Kansas City had Round A selections in the 2013 draft.

These selections could make a short-term impact within the next few weeks in trade-deadline deals. Competitive-balance picks may only be traded during the season, as they were last year when the Pirates traded their pick to the Marlins as part of the Gaby Sanchez deal. Miami used that pick to select Arkansas righthander Colby Suggs in the draft last month.

This is a rare opportunity for teams to acquire extra draft picks, as the more stringent free agent compensation rules have made it difficult for teams to stockpile draft picks. For example, from 2009-2011--the final three drafts under the previous CBA--the teams with the most selections each year averaged seven picks before the second round. The Yankees had three such picks this year, more than any other team.

With the draft bonus-pool restrictions in place, the importance of the selection comes not just from the potential player but also the pick value. In the 2013 draft, the assigned pick values for the Nos. 32-37 slots were between $1.67-1.50 million and the 2014 values for these slots will change with total industry revenue for this year.

“We are excited. It is important for our franchise to be able to add that type of talent that we are going to be able to get with that pick,” Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt said. “The pick bolsters your financial wherewithal to hopefully add talent throughout the draft.”

Pick Manipulation

The Royals, taking their cue from the Astros, provided a blueprint in last month’s draft for how an extra pick and slot value can be used. Kansas City used the first pick of the supplemental round (No. 34) to grab Indiana State lefthander Sean Manaea, a top talent who had an injury-riddled spring but still desired top money. Using the savings from first-rounder Hunter Dozier’s under-slot deal, the Royals signed Manaea for $3.55 million, the fifth largest bonus in the draft.

In 2012, the Astros used a similar tact to sign supplemental first-rounder Lance McCullers Jr. to an over-slot bonus. Houston hoped that history would repeat in 2013, but the Royals selected Manaea before the Astros could draft him.

Matt Krook, a California prep lefthander, was selected next by the Marlins, but the sides did not come to an agreement. Since all competitive-balance picks are protected for the next year, the Marlins will have a compensation pick for not signing Krook, essentially giving them two comp round selections.

These selections can be lost for signing a free agent who received a qualifying offer from his old team. The Indians lost their Round B pick this year after signing outfielder Michael Bourn in the offseason.

To be eligible for the lottery, teams had to meet one of three qualifications: reside in one of the 10 smallest markets, rank in the bottom 10 in revenue or receive any revenue sharing. Some teams met multiple qualifications, making 14 teams eligible. Odds of winning a selection were in inverse order of 2012 winning percentage, which gave Colorado the highest odds at 17 percent. The Reds, a playoff team with the second-most wins in the majors (97), had the lowest odds at 2.2 percent.

Six competitive-balance selections were awarded after the second round. These picks went to the Padres, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Rays, Pirates and Mariners. The Padres had a comp second-rounder in June and picked California prep outfielder Jordan Paroubeck.

Of the 12 teams awarded competitive-lottery picks for the 2014 draft, seven had lottery picks in the 2013 draft.

The Reds and Athletics, who had the second-lowest odds, were the only eligible teams to not receive a selection.