What is the MLB Draft Lottery and what are the SF Giants odds of getting the #1 pick?

2022 MLB Draft
2022 MLB Draft / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

Of all the drafts in American sports, the MLB Draft is probably one of the least talked-about. This kind of makes sense: a lot of names go into the draft and very few come out in the big leagues. But major leaguers aren't built in a day, and most of them were among the hundreds of names that are called by the commissioner during each year's draft. Sure, it's a little complicated. Sure, adding the draft lottery made it just a little more complicated. It's still worth keeping an eye on; the next Barry Bonds could be in that draft, and San Francisco could be the first to get him. Here's what you need to know about the draft lottery and what it means for the Giants.

What is the MLB Draft Lottery?

The MLB Draft Lottery is a kind of confusing, still new process that takes place during annual Winter Meetings to determine the order of the first six picks in next year's draft. Only non-playoff teams participate in the Draft Lottery; the positions of the other 12 are locked in based on their performance in the postseason. The World Series champion Rangers will pick last next year, while the Marlins will pick 19th because of their departure in the Wild Card round and their regular season record.

The other 18 teams draw for the first six spots in the draft, and they have different likelihoods of doing so based on their regular season performance. As the three teams with the worst records in 2023, the A's, Royals, and Rockies have an 18.3% chance of picking first. The other 15 non-playoff team's chances descend from there (the fourth ranked White Sox have a 14.7% chance, and the fifth ranked Cardinals have an 8.3% chance). There are a few exceptions involving the Nationals a few other teams who broke through the luxury tax threshold, but that's the general idea. The Draft Lottery will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 5 during Winter Meetings in Nashville.

What are the SF Giants odds of getting the #1 pick?

The Giants, who finished the 2023 season in fourth in the NL West with a 79-83 (.488) record, have a 1.0% chance of picking first in the MLB Draft Lottery. Their chances of picking second through sixth do go up a bit with each place, but the Giants max out at a 2.2% chance of picking sixth. If the lottery shakes out in the way the odds expect — with the A's, Royals, and Rockies being the first three to pick and the White Sox, Cardinals, and Angels bringing up the rear — the Giants will automatically fall into the 12th spot based on their regular season record.

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