(Photo Credit: David Hague)

Pirates Miss Out on a 2015 Draft Pick in the Competitive Balance Lottery

The MLB Competitive Balance Lottery was held today, awarding draft picks to small market and small revenue teams. The Pirates didn’t get a draft pick this year, after receiving picks the previous two years. The lottery has 13 teams, but only awards 12 picks, which means the Pirates were the odd team out. Here are the results.

I wrote this article in 2012 after the first lottery was held (and the Pirates got a first round pick that year), and it still applies. The article talked about how the lottery made no sense. MLB is recognizing that certain teams need help. This year they had 13 teams who either were one of the 10 lowest revenue teams, one of the 10 smallest market teams, or both. And yet they only awarded 12 picks. Why not 13? The whole purpose of the draft acknowledges that these teams need help, so it makes no sense to help all but one of the teams.

It’s also questionable that some of these teams need help. The Cardinals have some of the highest attendance in the league, and they’ve spent over $100 M in payroll in each of the last four years. There’s also the fact that they made two of the last three World Series, and won one of those. The Mariners just signed a local TV deal that is worth about $2 billion dollars. The Cardinals received a first round pick, the Mariners received a second round pick, and the Pirates — a team with more need for competitive balance than either team — received nothing. Because we can’t just give out 13 picks. Could you imagine a system where a pick was awarded for each team that needs one? That would make zero sense.

The current system is like if you had 13 homeless people, and you recognized that those people needed help, so you decided to give them each a pack of crackers, but you only bought 12 packs, so you hold a lottery to decide which person doesn’t get any of the needed help. It acknowledges the problem in baseball, it offers a very small amount of help to fix that problem, and for some reason it doesn’t help everyone that needs it.

UPDATE: The Rays and Royals also didn’t receive picks. 13 teams were eligible for the first round, then the Mariners and Twins were added to second round. Both teams received picks, leaving three teams out. And I’d say those three teams need help much more than the Mariners, Cardinals, and a few of the other teams who received picks.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Nat2010

    This system is un-effing-believable…

  • Andrew

    Does anyone understand how these are rewarded?

  • Macchamp74

    Do they pick out of hat? Roll dice?
    What’s the process.

  • B Thomas

    Well that sucks. Mariners? Really? Small market? They just dished out over 200 Million on one player.

    • http://battlingbucs.wordpress.com battlingbucs

      They didn’t get in because of small market or revenue but because they are eligible to receive revenue-sharing funds.

      • B Thomas

        system is dumb.

  • deacs

    I don’t understand. What’s are the qualifications here? Change the name from “Lottery” to “Only one team gets screwed drawing”? Can we send less people to games? Would this help?

  • https://profiles.google.com/101510909979106143098 David Lewis

    CBL results for 2016:

    1. Yankees
    2. Dodgers
    3. Red Sox
    4. Angels
    5. Braves
    6. Yankees
    7. Cardinals
    8. Tigers
    9. Dodgers
    10. Giants
    11. Cubs
    12. Mariners

    • deacs

      I would put the Cleveland Cavaliers in there somewhere.

  • Lee Young

    But, but, but, Bud says all is right with the MLB world???!!!!

  • http://battlingbucs.wordpress.com battlingbucs

    Tim, you probably know this and weren’t thinking but you got the process of who is eligible for the picks slightly wrong.

    The 10 teams with the lowest revenue and/or the smallest markets get a chance at the first 6 selections. This made up a group of 11 teams (exclude the Mariners and Twins from above). Then the second set of 6 selections goes to whichever of those teams didn’t get one of the first 6 picks AND any team who is eligible to receive revenue-sharing funds (Mariners and Twins).

    Your point still stands as a valid one just thought I’d point out what I’m sure was just an oversight for accuracy sake.

    • Matthew Ware

      How are the Rays not one of the teams of the 12 if the Pirates were the team that didn’t get a pick?

  • duckwoes


  • R Edwards

    This is almost as much nonsense as the all-star game now determining home field advantage for the World Series.

  • lonleylibertarian

    Almost as bad as the garbage Selig was spewing last night – baseball will be sorry it did not take full advantage of the good things – like Pittsburgh’s return to being competitive.

    That being said – I do think that things like willingness to spend should be factored into the deciding who is eligible – the Reds, Cards and Brewers are all spending over $100M on payroll this year – they earned a pick – the Bucs decided to pad Nutting’s bank account – nothing wrong with that from a business standpoint – but I would not be happy rewarding that with a pick if I were LA/NY/BOS/Chi…

  • Simon Weaver

    made too much money last year… would’ve had better odds

  • John

    What did Selig say about this oversight last night………..oh wait, never came up in the softball questions from Greg Brown(nose)!

  • st1300b

    And Bud Selig thinks the league is healthy… really? Cardinals may as well be the Red Sox. Stupid that they are a part of the process.

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