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Winter Meetings Drafts Primer

All the specs for the new draft lottery and the return of the MLB Rule 5 draft

2020 NHL Draft Lottery Photo by Bruce Bennett/NHLI via Getty Images

The Winter Meetings are often the high point of the long baseball offseason calendar and they will take place in person for the first time since 2019 this week in San Diego, today through Wednesday. Trade and free-agent activities have already started to pick up with all the decision-makers in one place. Jacob deGrom is a (very well-paid) Ranger. Kyle Gibson will be an Oriole. Jake Cave is no longer an Oriole and he’s (probably temporarily) a Philly. While there figures to be plenty more of that kind of hot stove action over the next few days, there will also be draft activity as part of this year’s festivities.

This year will mark the introduction of a draft lottery, one of the critical outcomes of the new collective bargaining agreement reached prior to last season. In addition, the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft will return after being canceled during the lockout last off-season.

Ben covered the Twins’ major priorities heading into the meetings yesterday. Now, here’s everything you need to know about the new draft lottery and the Rule 5 draft.

Draft Lottery

One of the biggest issues on the table during the last CBA negotiations was curbing the practice of tanking, which the Cubs and Astros used effectively over the past decade, but with ugly optics of franchises not even trying to win in order to stockpile future assets.

The solution put in place in place to disincentive that was a draft lottery to determine the order of the first six draft picks. No longer will the worst team from the prior season be guaranteed the first pick. Instead, each of the 18 teams that failed to qualify for the playoffs will have at least a puncher’s chance at landing the top pick when the league conducts its first draft lottery on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on MLB Network and streamed on

Joe Mauer Press Conference
Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad, 2001 first overall draft pick Joe Mauer and Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan
Photo by Minnesota Twins/MLB via Getty Images

The odds of a team landing the first pick range from 16.5% for the teams with the three worst records to 0.2% for the team with the best record among 18 non-playoff clubs. For this year, those break out as follows:

  • Nationals (55-107), 16.5%
  • Athletics (60-102), 16.5%
  • Pirates (62-100), 16.5%
  • Reds (62-100), 13.2%
  • Royals (65-97), 10.0%
  • Tigers (66-96), 7.5%
  • Rangers (68-94), 5.5%
  • Rockies (68-94), 3.9%
  • Marlins (69-93), 2.7%
  • Angels (73-89), 1.8%
  • Diamondbacks (74-88), 1.4%
  • Cubs (74-88), 1.1%
  • Twins (78-84), 0.9%
  • Red Sox (78-84), 0.8%
  • White Sox (81-81), 0.6%
  • Giants (81-81), 0.5%
  • Orioles (83-79), 0.4%
  • Brewers (86-76), 0.2%

In terms of disincentivizing tanking, the MLB lottery format is thought to be the most aggressive of any of the major sports. It includes more picks at the whims of chance than the NBA and NHL versions and has numerous restrictions in place to prevent teams from repeatedly picking in the lottery.

After the first six picks, the remaining non-postseason clubs will draft in the reverse order of the previous year’s standings. In the second through 20th rounds, all non-postseason teams will choose in reverse order of their 2022 winning percentage.

Postseason teams will choose in reverse order of their postseason finish in all rounds of the draft. Within each of those postseason groups, teams will be sorted by revenue-sharing status and then by reverse order of winning percentage. That means that we already know the order for 2023 picks 19-30:

19. Rays (Wild Card loser, recipient, 86-76)

20. Blue Jays (Wild Card loser, neither, 92-70)

21. Cardinals (Wild Card loser, neither, 93-69)

22. Mets (Wild Card loser, CBT payor, 101-61)

23. Mariners (LDS loser, recipient, 90-72)

24. Guardians (LDS loser, recipient, 92-70)

25. Braves (LDS loser, recipient, 101-61)

26. Dodgers (LDS loser, CBT payor, 111-51)

27. Padres (LCS loser, CBT payor, 89-73)

28. Yankees (LCS loser, CBT payor, 99-63)

29. Philadelphia Phillies (World Series loser)

30. Houston Astros (World Series winner)

Twins Get Competitive Balance Pick

Since 2017, Major League Baseball has used a formula including revenue, winning percentage, and market score to award tradeable competitive balance draft picks to teams that fall in the bottom 10 in revenue or market size. In the 2023 draft, the Twins will receive an additional pick after the first round and will pick fourth in Competitive Balance Round A.

Last summer the Twins had a comp pick in the B round after the second round and used it to select infielder Tanner Schobel. They had a Comp A round selection in 2021 and used it on infielder Noah Miller. Outfielder Matt Wallner, who debuted with the Twins late last season, was selected in the Comp A round in 2019.

Rule 5 Draft

The roots of the Rule 5 draft trace back to 1892, 11 years before the World Series was established. No mention of this draft and the Twins in the same sentence can be published without including Johan Santana. But Santana was not actually drafted by the Twins. The Twins had the first selection in 1999 and chose right-hander Jared Camp. Santana was taken second by the Marlins and then traded, along with $50,000, to the Twins for Camp. On that technicality, it is actually Shane Mack that takes the cake as the best Rule 5 draft pick in the Twins’ history

Minneesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles
Shane Mack, shown here in 1992, produced 17.9 fWAR for the Twins fro 1990-1994
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

This year’s version of Rule 5 will take place on Wednesday, December 7th at 5 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on

A team must have an open 40-man roster spot to select a player in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft. The team that’s picking pays $100,000 to select a player. That player cannot be optioned to the minors during the entirety of the 2023 season, and the player must spend at least 90 days on the active MLB roster (days on the injured or suspended list do not count toward the 90-day limit).

This will be the first MLB Rule 5 draft since rosters were expanded to 26 players and it will be interesting to see if that is something that makes it easier for teams to carry Rule 5 picks for the requisite 90 days.

Any players currently under contract with an MLB team who are not on a 40-man roster and who were signed before the end of the 2018 season and were 18 and under at the time of signing are eligible for the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft. Any players who were 19 or older and who signed initially before the end of the 2019 season are also eligible.

There is also a minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft that has no roster restrictions for the drafting team. The drafting team pays the player’s old team $25,000. Fifty-one players were selected in the minor league phase last winter, including former Minnesota prospect OF Gabriel Maciel being selected by Oakland.

As of this writing, the Twins have an open spot on their roster after their roster moves of a couple of weeks ago, and are able to participate in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. If you’re interested in which players might be under consideration for the Twins,’s prospect writers have you covered.

As is typical, that list includes a number of big-armed relievers that teams often like to dream on. For the Twins’ interests, there are also a handful of middle infielders and backup catcher types, including switch-hitting Drew Millas, currently of Washington, who is a well-regarded defender behind the plate and brings plus plate discipline to the batter’s box. He potentially fits a need for the Twins, who have only one catcher on their roster.

Peoria Javelinas v Glendale Desert Dogs
Drew Millas #26 of the Peoria Javelinas during the Arizona Fall League
Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

It will also be worth watching if another team rolls the dice with Twins’ outfield prospect Misael Urbina. Not unlike Akil Baddoo a couple of years ago, Urbina is a toolsy, highly-regarded prospect that hasn’t yet advanced past A-ball. The Twins also have a few other unprotected players – RHP Sean Mooney, RHP Steven Cruz, and UT Michael Helman – ranked within their top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline, so it bears watching if their system gets poached.

John is a writer for Twinkie Town and Pitcher List with an emphasis on analysis. He is a lifelong Twins fan and former college pitcher. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnFoley_21.