For the first time ever, the top six picks in the next MLB Draft will be determined by a lottery. Through the 2022 draft, those picks were strictly based upon reverse order of finish in the preceding MLB season. But MLB has now followed the NBA and NHL into a lottery model (the NFL continues with a strict order-of-finish model), and that lottery drawing is set to be held live on MLB Network Tuesday in a half-hour show live from the Winter Meetings in San Diego. That show will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET, and will feature co-hosts Greg Amsinger, Dan O’Dowd and Harold Reynolds, all long-time MLBN personalities and long-time parts of their draft and combine coverage.
As per a release from MLB Network, MLB SVP of On-Field Operations Raul Ibañez will announce the order of the picks during the program. Each of the 18 teams who could potentially receive one of these top-six picks will have a representative in the room. The selection process will involve a coded ping-pong ball system overseen and audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and its resolution will take place prior to the show going on-air, but footage from the selection process will be shown during the program. So hopefully this won’t wind up with a “frozen envelope” conspiracy theory, or an incorrect envelope.
There is still a weighting here based on how teams finished in the 2022 season. The three teams with the worst overall records receive equal odds of the top pick, then the odds go down from there. Here are the chances of each team receiving the top pick, from a November MLB release:
Club Odds for #1 Selection
We’ll see which teams wind up with the picks. And we’ll see how this shift to a lottery works out for MLB. But it is certainly notable that they’re planning to show it on MLB Network, and that the broadcast in question will include footage of the selection process, even if that isn’t live. And this will be some interesting MLB history to watch.