The Detroit Tigersdespite losing their last three games of the 2022 season, went 11-5 in their last 16, all after the former San Francisco Giants general manager Scott Harris has been hired as president of franchise baseball operations.
Over the past few years, that would have left the Tigers — whose late-season surge took them from MLB’s third-worst record to its sixth-worst — staring five teams in next July’s draft in Seattle.
But now? We will have to wait until December to find out, because the Tigers still have a 7.5% chance of picking No.1and 24% chance of finishing in the top three.
As part of the new March collective bargaining agreement, MLB awards its top six draft picks by lottery. The teams with the three worst records — the Washington Nationals (55-107), Oakland Athletics (60-102) and Pittsburgh Pirates (62-100) — each have a 16.5% chance at the first pick. The 18 teams that failed to qualify for the playoffs have a chance of being No. 1, tiny as they are; the Milwaukee Brewers, who finished 86-76, have a 0.23% chance of picking No. 1.
The draft executive order is expected to be established at MLB’s winter meetings in San Diego in December.
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Along with their 7.5% chance of picking No. 1, here’s Tigers odds at each pick-up:
∎ 8% shot second place.
∎ 8.5% for the third choice.
∎ 9.1% to the fourth choice.
∎ 9.8% fifth pick.
∎ 41.9% chance of progressing.
∎ 10.4% chance of remaining sixth.
∎ 12.9% chance of dropping to seventh place.
∎ 23.3% chance of dropping to number eight (the statistically most likely possibility).
The Tigers can’t fall further than No. 12, where they drafted in the first round in July (taking Texas Tech infielder Jace Jung) after finishing the 2021 season at 77-85.
However, the lottery odds only apply to the first round. The Tigers will have the sixth pick in all other rounds, though they will lose their third overall pick if they sign a free agent with a qualifying offer, as they did last offseason with southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez.
The Tigers have had the No. 1 pick twice in the past five drafts, selecting Auburn right-hander Casey Mize in 2018 and Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson in 2020. Mize has made two starts in 2022 after leading the Tigers in innings last season, and will likely miss all of 2023 after undergoing Tommy John’s surgery. Torkelson made the Tigers’ opening day roster in 2022 but was dropped to Triple-A during the All-Star break. Recalled in September, he hit three homers to finish with eight this season.
Looking ahead to 2023, Indiana outfielder Max Clark is considered the best prep position player available (according to MLB Pipeline), while LSU outfielder Dylan Crews is the best college hitter and Tennessee right-hander Chase Dollinger is the best college pitcher.
Odds for the 2023 No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft:
1. Nationals (55-107), 16.5%
2.A (60-102), 16.5%
3. Pirates (62-100), 16.5%
4. Reds (62-100), 13.25%
5. Royals (65-97), 10%
6. Tigers (66-96), 7.5%
7. Rangers (68-94), 5.5%
8. Rockies (68-94), 3.9%
9. Marlins (69-93), 2.7%
10. Angels (73-89), 1.8%
11. D-backs (74-88), 1.4%
12. Cubs (74-88), 1.1%
13. Twins (78-84), 0.9%
14. Red Sox (78-84), 0.76%
15. White Sox (81-81), 0.62%
16. Giants (81-81), 0.48%
17. Orioles (83-79), 0.36%
18. Brewers (86-76), 0.23%