The Brewers will be getting an extra pick in the 2013 draft, and it has nothing to do with free-agent-to-be Zack Greinke.
It’s no secret that small-market organizations like the Brewers need to build through the draft. When the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was announced, one of the major changes was a “draft pool” system — based on where they pick, teams only have a certain amount of money to spend in the first 10 rounds. This was presented by the league as a way to level the playing field. What it really did was hurt small-market clubs in one of the few areas in which they could gain ground on the Yankees of the world.
So to compensate, the league also added the lottery. Every year, the 10 lowest-revenue teams and the 10 smallest-market teams will be put into a lottery for the chance to win one of 12 extra draft picks. There is some cross-over between these two groups, so there’s a chance the number of “eligible” teams will change year-to-year. This year, there were 13 teams vying for 12 spots. As one of the smallest markets in the game, the Brewers will be an annual participant in this lottery.
The 12 compensation picks will be split so half take place after the first round, and the other half after the second round. Odds for winning basically work the same as the NBA lottery — teams with the worst winning percentages the year before have the best chance of getting a pick. Since the Brewers were one of the best 2011 teams in the pool, there was a chance they would be the team left out in the cold. Luckily, they barely snuck in, being awarded the 11th of the 12 picks. That means their pick will come after the second round, not the first, the 5th pick of “Group B.”
An added bonus to these picks? Unlike any other draft pick, Competitive Balance picks can be traded. There are a couple caveats, though — each pick can only be traded once, and they can only be traded in-season. That means a small-market team could trade away their pick in a deadline deal, or possibly trade their pick in the days before next year’s draft.
In the end, is this something that will benefit the Brewers? Yes, as long as they use these “free” picks wisely. Does it make up for the league restricting their ability to spend elsewhere in the draft? Absolutely not. Small-market clubs still have the most to lose in this new draft system, as was shown with the Pittsburgh/Mark Appel situation. These additional picks are only a mild sweetener for what is still a bitter pill to swallow.