Major League Baseball instituted a draft lottery last March when the new collective bargaining agreement was signed. The anti-tanking measure had been an item of interest around the game for quite some time, and they finally got it done. On Tuesday night, the inaugural edition of the weighted draft lottery came up roses for the Detroit Tigers. Despite finishing with the sixth worst record, they’ll have the third overall pick in new President of Baseball Operations, Scott Harris’ first draft running the club.
The Pittsburgh Pirates finished the 2022 season tied with the Cincinnati Reds for the third worst record in the game, but they landed the first overall pick. The Washington Nationals had the worst record in baseball last season, but despite not getting the first overall pick, they came out fine with the second pick. Maybe the biggest winner here is the Minnesota Twins, who posted a .481 winning percentage last year, and yet come in with the fifth overall pick. They’ve got to be pleased in the Twin Cities.
With the first ever MLB Draft Lottery complete, the 2023 Draft order is now set pic.twitter.com/60W1jtwY5G— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) December 7, 2022
The Tigers are in very good shape. Harris and his two key lieutenants, Vice-President Rob Metzler, and scouting director Mark Connor will have three of the top 46 picks to work with, along with a strong bonus pool. The Tigers received a compensation round A selection five days ago when the comp picks were determined. So barring any changes they’ll pick 3rd, 36th, and 46th across the first two full rounds. That puts them in good position with a lot of different strategies available.
Obviously previewing the draft this early is fraught with peril. By the time we actually see the college players complete their junior years, things will no doubt be radically different. For now though, Baseball America already has their first mock draft up, and they have the Tigers selecting Florida Gators outfielder Wyatt Langford with the third overall pick.
Langford mashed 26 home runs in his junior year to lead the SEC. He was largely viewed as future left fielder with big time offensive potential, but as the year progressed, he’s shown improved speed and now looks a lot more capable of sticking in center field in pro ball. This is all a long way off, but Harris and company have to feel good about how things are setting up for their first draft running the Tigers.