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When is the MLB Draft Lottery?

Baseball will adopt the new format for deciding the draft order. We go over how things will work.

Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder Corbin Carroll (7) grips a rawlings baseball with the Major League logo during game 2 of a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 20, 2022, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We will witness MLB history on Tuesday, December 6. In past years, the draft order was determined with an identical inverse of the overall standings in the league that year. This means that the team with the worst record in baseball knew that they were in line for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. This year, as part of the new collective bargaining agreement that ended the 2022 lockout, we will have a draft lottery.

When is the 2023 MLB draft lottery?

The first-ever MLB draft lottery will be held on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET on MLB Network.

What is a draft lottery?

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 does 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 decided, the draft order reverts to the inverse of the standings from the previous season for the remaining teams.