Major League Baseball held the first ever draft lottery on Tuesday night. The Cincinnati Reds entered the lottery with the 4th best odds of landing the top pick in the draft at 13.2%, trailing the Nationals, Athletics, and Pirates who all have a 16.5% chance of landing the #1 pick. The lottery has 18 teams in it, but only the first six picks are winnable. After the 6th pick the rest of the first round will be determined by the worst-to-best records of the remaining teams. Entering the night it meant that Cincinnati was going to wind up somewhere between #1 and #10 in the draft.

Things did not go the way that the Cincinnati Reds way. With the 4th best odds in the lottery the Reds wound up with the 7th overall pick and not being among the lottery winners. They picked 18th in 2022, 17th in 2021, 12th in 2020, and 7th in 2019.

Cincinnati has picked 7th overall six times in franchise history and they’ve been quite successful with that pick. Back in 1972 they took Larry Payne. He’s the only 7th overall pick by the Reds to not reach the big leagues. In 1990 the team took Dan Wilson 7th overall. Eight years later they selected Austin Kearns. In 2004 the team selected Homer Bailey. Four seasons later they selected Yonder Alonso. Then in 2019 they took Nick Lodolo.

100 losses and you select 7th overall is a heck of a thing to see. But that’s what the MLBPA and ownership groups agreed to in the latest collective bargaining agreement as one of the incentives to try and stop teams from “tanking”.

Cincinnati will have the 7th pick, and an additional pick in the Competitive Balance Round A that follows the 1st round. The Comp A pick number isn’t set in stone yet, but it will be the 7th pick in that round. That pick is available to trade – only Competitive Balance picks can be traded – and the Reds have used that to their advantage in the past.


Felt like it was worth noting that after the 1st round the draft order returns to “worst record picks first”, meaning that the Reds will select 4th overall in rounds 2-20.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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36 Responses

  1. Gregmlb

    This has to be the dumbest thing yet that mlb has come up with. Small market getting screwed even more.

    • Bdh

      Texas spends 1/2 billion last year in contracts, picked 3rd in last years draft, already have signed one of the best free agents this time around and are now one of the teams that jumped ahead of the reds in the top 5 for this draft

      The Twins were buyers at the deadline and now pick 5th!

      There’s a handful of outfielders that are very good in this draft so the reds should end up with a very good player but I hope they look and see the above examples that you don’t have to tank to 100 losses to pick at the top now.

      • AMDG

        I think the Twins getting a better pick is what MLB wanted.

        MLB wants teams to try to win.
        That is what the Twins did.
        But it didn’t work out.
        Historically teams are punished (lower pick) for trying and failing.
        But the Twins were now punished for making that effort.

    • Colorado Red

      Teams tank, and now get a lower pick.
      Serves them right.

    • Bdh

      Still going to get 3 top 50 picks. Crews is in a class of his own but there’s 4-5 legit top of the draft outfielders with a couple SS and Dolander mixed in as well so the reds will be fine.

      • earmbrister

        Not what I hoped for, but hardly a real big deal. With the crapshoot that the MLB Draft is, it’s not the end of the world.

        The Reds had the 18th pick last year and had Cam Collier fall to them. I’m guessing there will be plenty of talent to choose from at pick 7.

    • Dan

      All things considered, I would rather pick first.

      Although actually, really when all things are considered, I would rather pick last after a successful playoff run.

  2. LDS

    Hey guys, keep the faith. They’ll compete for the 1st pick again next year. As for the CBA’s anti-tanking intentions, how’s that working out? What a laughable organization.

  3. MBS

    A draft lottery isn’t going to stop tanking. A salary floor combined with healthy financial penalties for undercutting the floor is the only way to stop tanking. That being said, I don’t hate the lottery, I’m just saying it’s a half measure.

  4. Gregmlb

    This is just another way for mlb to make fans of small market teams to feel like there’s less and less hope. I’m telling you they just keep finding more and more ways to lose fans. But hey the Phillies, Giants, and Rangers get better.

  5. Gregmlb

    If they are worried about winning, why don’t they just the 1st picks to the teams with the best records? Honestly those players will just end up with those teams in the end. This lottery system is the absolute worst. A’s, Reds, and Royals getting it in the rear

  6. Doc

    Perhaps the draft order should be based on records at the All Star break. Maybe teams won’t be tanking that early in the season.

  7. Optimist

    I’m sure someone, somewhere has done the statistical analysis of the order of picks and resulting draft picks, but of all the major sports, MLB’s draft seems most random. The volume may be much more important – 3 of the top 50.

    IIRC Doug, among many others, have remarked that once past the top 50 picks, it gets extremely rare and frankly lucky to get much talent that ends up in MLB.

    After the run of “Nicks” it seems the Reds have gotten the draft scouting and development back on track. Hope one of these three is a keeper.

    • Colorado Red

      Tell that to Albert P. late rounder a HOF’er.
      Not common, but it can happen.

  8. Melvin

    Well, it did keep Big Bob & Son from benefiting too much for being cheap. I’m sure they don’t like that.

  9. AMDG

    The draft lottery in baseball is kind of silly.

    In football or basketball, where the players have an immediate impact, and can change the fortunes of a franchise overnight, the temptation to tank is real.

    In baseball, it’s not the same thing.

    The Pirates getting Henry Davis over Jack Leiter in last year’s draft isn’t turning around the team, and isn’t motivating the Rangers to lose more games.

    Until MLB implements a financial model like the NFL (revenue sharing, salary cap, etc.) there will always be teams losing a disproportinate amount of games (tanking) because they can’t afford to buy playoff teams a la the Yankees and Dodgers.

    • Tom

      At least they let more playoff teams in so the bar is low enough to compete. The Reds not competing, or pretty much any team, is hard to excuse. In the Reds case they really just needed a good bullpen the last three years and they won’t do anything about it.

  10. Norwood Nate

    Not sure why tanking in baseball is a concern when it doesn’t have an immediate impact. The player could be more than six years away. Even an advanced college player like Lodolo took three seasons in the minors. In other sports players are immediate impact, and it makes sense to tank for a short term.

    This just seems to penalize fans of bad clubs. Which is fitting for baseball.

    • BK

      I understand why MLBPA has concerns with tanking. Frankly, I agree that the widespread tanking is one of the reasons MLB is losing popularity. However, MLBPA seems determined to try anything but leveling the playing field among teams. We’ll see little change in behavior from the smaller market teams until the underlying problem is addressed.

      • Old Big Ed

        The baseball industry has a tough balance to strike. Unlike the NFL and NBA (to a lesser extent), there are vast differences among MLB teams in the amount of revenue that they can raise locally. MLB is like college football and baseball, where fans are intensely local. I might watch the Chargers-Chiefs game, but I am very unlikely to watch an Angels-Royals game, because (1) it may start at 10p EDT, and/or (2) I’ll watch the Reds instead.

        The Yankees generate tons more in gate/concessions/merchandise, because they have tons more fans in a metro area that is about 10 times larger than Cincinnati. They get much higher attendance and charge much more per ticket. They also have much higher local TV revenue selling to this larger market than do the Reds. I recognize that the Reds could sell more tickets with a better team, but the reality is that the Yankees, etc. will always be able to generate much more local revenue than the Reds.

        Yes, there is substantial revenue sharing, but that is where the balance must be struck. Both MLB and union, plus the Yankees themselves, want the local teams to maximize their local revenues. On the other hand, if the revenue sharing is as comprehensive as the NFL, then the Yankees would have little incentive to maximize their revenues locally. (It’s like very high marginal tax rates; if the top tax rate is 90%, the individual has little incentive to work once that bracket is reached.) The Yankees would not bother trying to generate more money, if it was all going to other teams that are competing against them. Any revenue sharing plan has to take that into account.

        The flip side, which seems to be happening in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, is that if revenue sharing is too generous, then the Reds and Pirates lose incentive to maximize their own local revenues, which would cause them to lose the shared revenue flowing their way as a low-revenue team. (Again, it is similar to the tax situation for person receiving various forms of public assistance; if earning more money causes the loss of eligibility for some/all of the assistance programs, then in effect the system imposes a huge marginal tax on the person’s new income.)

        The Yankees having $200+ million more to spend than the Reds, though, is not a sustainable business model. At some point, the Reds, Pirates, etc. become Vanderbilt in SEC football. Vandy has a small and shrinking fan base, and much of their ticket revenue is from visiting SEC teams, for whom the trip to Nashville is great — fun town for a weekend visit, plus it is a guaranteed win.

      • Tom

        Old Big Ed, you’re right there will be trade offs and the Yankees would be the ones to suffer, but they’ve monopolized the imagination of baseball to the exclusion of teams like the Reds. Look at the Knicks, they should be good but they are not because the league is fair and balanced.

        One thing you could look at is the revenue per fan according to Forbes, which is basically the teams revenue divided by the metro area the team is a part of. The Reds make 68 dollars per fan, the Yankees “only” 50 per fan. You can see the effect of a larger market also means more pressure on the fan’s attention. The Cards make 73 dollars per fan, so the Reds do pretty well in this sense.

  11. jim m

    Reds owner doesn’t care as that saves him slot money to pocket and pretend he cares . He doesnt as his own team will suck for 3-4 more years. Bengals game plan of the 90s at play for BOB

  12. Old Big Ed

    The 7th pick of the draft has produced some gems, and of course some flops. The best two are Clayton Kershaw and Frank (Big Hurt) Thomas, both HOF material.

    The others, with WAR of 15 or more, are Troy Tulowitzki, Nick Markakis, Aaron Nola, Prince Fielder, Trot Nixon, the Great Mike Minor, Max Fried, Richard Dotson and Andrew Benintendi. (I only vaguely remember Dotson, primarily a White Sox pitcher, but who was from Cincinnati.) Kershaw, Nola, Fried and Benintendi are still active, and there are a handful of other #7s who are still playing. Nick Lodolo is one of them, with Matt Harvey-ish, Archie Bradley, Braxton Garrett and a 22-year-old Ryan Weathers also being active. Only 1 pick at #& in the last 20 years has failed to make the majors, not counting the last 3 drafts.

    The Reds have done well with the #7 pick. They have picked seventh a total of 5 times since 2022 (not something to brag about, obviously). They took Dan Wilson in 1990, whom they flipped for Bret Boone after a couple cups of coffee in Cincinnati; Wilson went on to have a nice, long career with the Mariners. (The Mariners and Reds have a long-term relationship.) In 1998, the Reds took Austin Kearns, who was on his way to an excellent career until the bloated reliever Ray King collapsed on Kearns’s shoulder. The Reds drafted Homer Bailey 7th in 2004 and Yonder Alonso (later part of the Mat Latos trade) in 2008. And they got Nick Lodolo in 2019, in what appears to have been an excellent pick.

    The #4 pick, where the Reds “should” be, has only produced 2 more players above 15 bWAR, the highest of which is Barry Larkin at 70.5. The list of active #4s isn’t as good as the #7 list, with Kevin Gausman and Kyle Schwarber (of Middletown, I understand) heading the list.

    I understand that this is expected to be a deep draft for college players, especially hitters, so #7 should not be a killer.

  13. Poop Doughnut

    I really hope Sterling Thompson OF from Florida is there at 7. And we have a new owner by the draft, come on Santa!

  14. Redbb

    Enrique Bradfield come on down! LOL…ghosts of Billy Hamilton

    • Billy

      I’ll take Bradfield! Tremendous CF, really fast and, unlike Hamilton, a great batters eye. Look at his OBP and steal percentage. A natural lead off man that the Reds sorely need.

  15. Jim Delaney

    This was a shot at the Castellini’s and Williams families. What they did after the lockout was intentionally tanking they deserved to fall to 10th. Reds ownership only cares about there profit margin. No interest in putting a viable product infield. Meanwhile a small market team like SD has an owner who is in on every big free agent or star player on trade market. The owner wants to win, doesn’t care about profit margin and fans go all out to
    support team. MLB needs to find a way to force owners out if winning isn’t there highest priority. There are many wealthy people who would love to own an MLB franchise as an ego stroke to win a championship. Unfortunately the Castellini’s and Williams aren’t of that ilk they accept losing and now planning to lose BIG.

    • Old Big Ed

      No, Jim, there are not “many wealthy people” eager to spend $1 billion for a baseball team. There just aren’t that many billionaires, and most of them are not baseball fans.

      The future of the business is not promising. The fan base is aging; the game is too slow; the revenue stream from cable TV is tenuous at best; the structure of the game favors teams in the bigger cities; banks will not want to lend much money for the purchase of a team; and we are not in good economic times in general.

      If a person has a billion dollars to invest, the overwhelming likelihood is that s/he will find a lot more attractive investments than a baseball team.

      Maybe somebody with bottomless pockets will buy the Reds, but it is a longshot at best. We have to accept that “Larry Bird is not coming through that door.”

      • Dan (BigDan)

        No Ed, actually Jim is correct. There are plenty of wealthy individuals/groups who would be interested in purchasing a MLB team.

        Why do you think the price of teams continues to sky-rocket. Hint, it is because these teams are rare commodities that are highly sought by the wealthiest class of folks.

        Come to this site and you will learn something new everyday!!!

      • Old Big Ed

        Dan, there is little evidence that teams on the low end of the revenue spectrum are going up in value. The Mets sold for a lot, because the Wilpons were lousy owners and Cohen thought he could run them better, in the biggest market in the league. The last flyover-country team to sell was the Royals in 2019.

        I’ve said this before, but if you look at the footnotes to the Forbes articles, and the footnotes to their sources, then it is clear that 25-30% of the purported value of the Reds is the Reds’ share of MLB’s investment fund. The value of the actual operating business of Reds baseball is not increasing at a market rate.

        I’d be interested in who you think might want to buy the Reds, and has the money to do it.