Getting Ready For the Amateur Draft, Part 1

Major League Baseball will kick off its amateur draft on Thursday, June 6. MLB Network and will cover the draft live starting at 7:00 p.m. EDT. The pick-by-pick coverage will include the First Round, Competitive Balance Round A, Second Round, and Competitive Balance Round B — 73 picks in total.  The remainder of the draft will take place on June 7 and 8.

We will get you ready for the amateur draft — also known as the Rule-4 draft — with two posts. Today in Part 1, we’ll provide a refresher on the new rules put in place in the most recent MLB-MLBPA collective bargaining agreement. We’ll then show how those rules were applied in coming up with this year’s draft selection order.

In Part 2, we’ll explain the bonus slots for each selection, the total bonus pools for each team, and look back at bit at how spending has changed in the last five years.

The Basics

The Rule-4 draft applies to players from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and any other U.S. territory. To be eligible for the draft, players from these countries and territories must have either completed high school but not yet attended college; attended at least three years of college or be at least 21 years old; or attended junior or community college for any length of time. Players from any other countries must register with MLB, but are not subject to a draft. That may change soon, as MLB tries to institute an international draft.

The New Rules

The new CBA did away with Elias Sports Bureau’s ranking of free agents as either Type-A and Type-B players. Under the old rules, a team that signed a Type A player gave its first round and supplemental round draft picks to the club that the player left. A team that signed a Type B free agent didn’t lose any picks, but the team that lost that player received a supplemental pick. Type A free agents were in the top 20% for their position; Type B free agents were in the 21-40% range of the position. Elias’ ranking methodology was not made public.  There were special rules in place during the 2012 draft to bridge from the Type A/Type B free-agent compensation rules from the old CBA to the new compensation system under the new one.

The new CBA replaced Type-A and Type-B rankings with “qualifying offers.” Instead of Elias determining a free agent’s value, the team he’s leaving makes that decision when it either does or doesn’t a qualifying offer to a player who is eligible for free agency. A value of a qualifying offer is the average salary of the top 125 players in the prior season. In the 2012-2013 off-season, a qualify offer was worth $13.3 million. Teams have until five days after the World Series to make a qualifying offer. Players must accept or reject the offer within seven days of receiving it.

A team that signs a free agent who rejected a qualifying offer loses its first round draft pick. The pick doesn’t go to the team that lost the free agent. Instead, the free agent’s former team receives a compensation pick at the end of the first round, with these choices coming in reverse order of the 2012 major league standings. Teams with the ten worst records the prior season do not lose their first-round picks (which are protected), bu they lose their second-round pick. The teams with protected first round picks for 2013 are the Astros, Cubs, Rockies, Twins, Indians, Marlins, Red Sox, Royals, Blue Jays. The Pirates’ ninth pick in the first round was also protected because their first round selection in the 2012 draft (Mark Appel) didn’t sign with the team.

Teams made qualifying offers to nine players at the end of the 2012 season: David Ortiz, Kyle Lohse, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, B.J. Upton, Adam LaRoche, Hiroki Kuroda, and Rafael Soriano. None accepted the offers. Ortiz, LaRoche, and Kuroda signed with their former teams, which negated any effect of the qualifying offer. The following teams lost first round picks when they signed the remaining six: Brewers (Lohse), Angels (Hamilton), Braves (Upton), Nationals (Soriano), and Indians (Bourn, Swisher) (Indians lost a first and second round pick). The Cardinals (Lohse), Rangers (Hamilton), Rays (Upton), Braves (Bourn), and Yankees (Soriano, Swisher) received compensation picks at the end of the first round.

The new CBA also ushered in the era of competitive-balance draft picks. The ten smallest-market teams and the ten lowest-revenue teams were entered in a lottery held last July. Six winners of that lottery received competitive balance picks to be used after the completion of the first round. As’s Jonathan Mayo explained:

Those half-dozen picks will be made at the conclusion of the first round, following the compensation selections. Because there is obvious crossover between those two groups, there are 13 teams entered into the first-round lottery: the D-backs, Orioles, Indians, Royals, A’s, Pirates, Padres, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Marlins, Brewers and Cardinals. The odds of winning a Draft pick will be based on each team’s winning percentage in the previous season.

There will be a second group of six picks, to be made after the conclusion of the second round. The teams from the first group that did not get one of the early picks will be re-entered, along with any other Major League team that receives revenue sharing. This year, only one team — the Tigers — will be added to the second lottery.

The lottery winners were, in order:

Competitive Balance Round A

  1. Royals
  2. Pirates
  3. Diamondbacks
  4. Orioles
  5. Reds
  6. Marlins

Competitive Balance Round B

  1. Padres
  2. Indians
  3. Rockies
  4. Athletics
  5. Brewers
  6. Tigers

Competitive-balance picks can be traded. First-round draft picks cannot.

The 2013 Draft Selection Order

To figure out the draft selection order, we start a list of all 30 teams in reverse-order of winning percentage in the prior season. We remove any first or second round picks that were forfeited by teams that signed free agents who received qualifying offers. We then add in the compensatory picks at the end of the first round. Finally, we wedge the competitive balance picks between first round and the second round, and between the second round and the third round, and make any adjustments for trades of competitive balance picks.

For the first three rounds of the 2013 draft, we get:

1st Round Competitive Balance Round A 2nd Round Competitive Balance Round B 3rd Round Supplemental Round
1. Astros 34. Royals 40. Astros 69. Padres 74. Astros 106. Athletics
2. Cubs 35. Marlins 41. Cubs 70. Rockies 75. Cubs
3. Rockies 36. D’Backs 42. Rockies 71. Athletics 76. Mets
4. Twins 37. Orioles 43. Twins 72. Brewers 77. Rockies
5. Indians 38. Reds 44. Marlins 73. Marlins 78. Twins
6. Marlins 39. Tigers 45. Red Sox 79. Indians
7. Red Sox 46. Royals 80. Marlins
8. Royals 47. Blue Jays 81. Red Sox
9. Pirates 48. Mets 82. Royals
10. Blue Jays 49. Mariners 83. Blue Jays
11. Mets 50. Padres 84. Mets
12. Mariners 51. Pirates 85. Mariners
13. Padres 52. D’Backs 86. Padres
14. Pirates 53. Phillies 87. Pirates
15. D’Backs 54. Brewers 88. D’Backs
16. Phillies 55. White Sox 89. Phillies
17. White Sox 56. Dodgers 90. Brewers
18. Dodgers 57. Cardinals 91. White Sox
19. Cardinals 58. Tigers 92. Dodgers
20. Tigers 59. Angels 93. Cardinals
21. Rays 60. Rays 94. Tigers
22. Orioles 61. Orioles 95. Angels
23. Rangers 62. Rangers 96. Phillies
24. Athletics 63. Athletics 97. Rays
25. Giants 64. Giants 98. Orioles
26. Yankees 65. Braves 99. Rangers
27. Reds 66. Yankees 100. Athletics
28. Cardinals 67. Reds 101. Giants
29. Rays 68. Nationals 102. Braves
30. Rangers 103. Yankees
31. Braves 104. Reds
32. Yankees 105. Nationals
33. Yankees

In Part 2, we’ll discuss the most controversial aspect of the new draft rules: the limits placed on how much each team can spend to sign each draft pick and how much each team can spend on all draft picks combined.

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Wendy writes about sports and the business of sports. She's been published most recently by Vice Sports, Deadspin and You can find her work at and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.

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