The Cleveland Indians received the third overall pick in Round A of today’s MLB Draft competitive balance lottery. Installed last year as a part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the new system awards tradeable early draft picks to franchises that are lower down on the baseball revenue and market size totem pole.
Cleveland’s new pick will likely be somewhere in the mid-to-late 30s immediately following the first round, depending upon other compensation items leading up to the 2014 MLB Draft next summer.
This past year, the team was awarded a Round B slot — directly after the second round — but forfeited the pick with their late winter signing of Michael Bourn. After taking Clint Frazier at No. 5 overall, the team’s next pick was No. 79 overall (Dace Kime), since they also forfeited their original second-rounder with the signing of Nick Swisher. (Top-10 overall picks are protected from possible loss with free agent signings.)
The competitive balance lottery has been ridiculed widely for assisting actually successful teams, as clubs such as the St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles — all 90+ win teams in 2012 — also received new picks today. The selections differ from any draft picks in the past in that they can be traded, giving all of these franchises an extra asset to use in the next few weeks of trade discussions.
MLB.com’s draft expert Jonathan Mayo had a great article earlier today examining the process of the competitive balance lottery and the results from the 2013 draft last month. Most notably, Kansas City used the first slot, the No. 34 overall pick, to give a huge over-slot bonus to LHP Sean Manaea, labeled as the best college lefty available.