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Guardians earn No. 1 pick in 2024 MLB Draft lottery

The Reds, Rockies, Athletics, White Sox and Royals round out the top six, while the Mets, Yankees and Padres fell.

For the first time in franchise history, the Cleveland Guardians will have the No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft. Cleveland was the big winner of what turned out to be a very topsy-turvy 2024 draft lottery, held Tuesday evening at the Winter Meetings in Nashville. The Guardians entered with just the ninth-best odds of landing the top pick in next year’s draft, but they leapfrogged all the way to the top. The Rockies, Athletics, and Royals all had a better than 18% chance at No. 1, yet none of the three will pick higher than third.

Here are the top six picks:

1. Cleveland Guardians (2% odds)
2. Cincinnati Reds (0.9% odds)
3. Colorado Rockies (18.3% odds)
4. Oakland Athletics (18.3% odds)
5. Chicago White Sox (14.7% odds)
6. Kansas City Royals (18.3% odds)

17 of the 18 non-postseason teams had a shot at the No. 1 pick; the Nationals were the exception, as teams that pay into revenue sharing cannot land in the lottery in consecutive seasons and Washington just took LSU outfielder Dylan Crews No. 2 overall last year. The lottery system is used to determine the first six picks in the draft order, with the remaining 12 non-postseason teams awarded picks 7-18 in the reverse order of this season’s standings. Here are those picks:

7. St. Louis Cardinals
8. Los Angeles Angels
9. Pittsburgh Pirates
10. Washington Nationals
11. Detroit Tigers
12. Boston Red Sox
13. San Francisco Giants
14. Chicago Cubs
15. Seattle Mariners
16. Miami Marlins
17. Milwaukee Brewers
18. Tampa Bay Rays

You might notice that the last three teams on that list — the Marlins, Brewers and Rays — landed in the top 18 despite making the postseason, while the Mets, Yankees and Padres don’t appear despite falling short of October. The reason why comes down to payroll: The Mets, Yankees and Padres all exceeded the $273 million third competitive balance tax threshold in 2023, meaning that their first selection in the next year’s draft was automatically back 10 spots. (The top six lottery picks, however, are protected; had any those teams moved up into the lottery, the 10-pick penalty would have been applied to their second pick next year, so you can blame the ping-pong balls for that bit of bad luck.)

The 12 postseason teams, meanwhile, are ordered by their postseason finish. Teams within each postseason round are ordered in the reverse order of the standings, with clubs that receive revenue sharing selecting before teams that pay into revenue sharing. Here is the rest of the first round:

The 2024 MLB Draft will take place next July, during All-Star Week in Arlington, Texas. West Virginia infielder JJ Wetherholt, Wake Forest first baseman Nick Kurtz, Wake Forest righty Chase Burns and Florida two-way star Jac Caglianone headline what’s shaping up to be a college-heavy class.