The Pittsburgh Pirates won baseball’s first draft lottery Tuesday night and will get the first pick of eligible amateur players in July.
The Minnesota Twins also were big winners, moving up from 13th in the pre-draft order based on their 2022 record to fifth when the ping pong balls were plucked at baseball’s winter meetings.
Oakland was a significant loser, falling from the second-worst record to the No. 6 draft pick.
The Nationals, Athletics and Pirates entered the lottery with the best chance for the No. 1 pick at 16.5% for each team.
It will be the sixth time the Pirates pick first and second in three years. They snagged Louisville catcher Henry Davis with the top choice in 2021.
LSU outfielder Dylan Crews, Tennessee right-hander Chase Dollander and Mississippi shortstop Jacob Gonzalez are among the top prospects for the 2023 draft, to go along with prep outfielders Max Clark and Walker Jenkins.
The lottery was instituted this year as part of Major League Baseball’s labor agreement with the players’ association in March, a measure intended to discourage tanking for top draft picks among struggling teams.
All 18 clubs that failed to make the 2022 postseason were part of the lottery and eligible to win the No. 1 pick.
After the Nationals, A’s and Pirates, the Cincinnati Reds had the next-best chance to win at 13.2%. They will select seventh.
Pittsburgh and Cincinnati tied for the third-worst record in the majors this year at 62-100, but the Pirates got into the top odds tier because they had a worse record than the Reds in 2021.
Kansas City, which had a 10% chance for the top pick, will choose eighth. Detroit entered with the sixth-best odds to win at 7.5% and jumped up to the No. 3 pick.
After the top six, the remaining teams will make their selections in reverse order of their 2022 winning percentage.
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Reporting by The Associated Press.
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