What is the MLB Draft Lottery and what are the White Sox's odds of getting the #1 pick?

2023 MLB Draft presented by Nike
2023 MLB Draft presented by Nike / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

The MLB Draft Lottery takes places today at Winter Meetings in Nashville, and it's just as confusing as ever. Given the amount of players who go into the draft every year, how long it takes to get through the minor leagues, and how few actually make it to the majors, it can be easy to be apathetic about the draft and all of its components, including the lottery. However, superstars don't come out of nowhere, and prospects and their rankings can have major effects on big league clubs when it comes time to make deals and move pieces around. Although the Draft Lottery is a complicated process that we'll attempt to unpack here, it's even more so important to the White Sox this year because they have a very good shot at picking first, or at the very least early on in the 2024 draft.

What is the MLB Draft Lottery?

The MLB Draft Lottery is a kind of confusing, still new process that takes place during annual Winter Meetings to determine the order of the first six picks in next year's draft. Only non-playoff teams participate in the Draft Lottery; the positions of the other 12 are locked in based on their performance in the postseason. The World Series champion Rangers will pick last next year, while the Marlins will pick 19th because of their departure in the Wild Card round and their regular season record.

The other 18 teams draw for the first six spots in the draft, and they have different likelihoods of doing so based on their regular season performance. As the three teams with the worst records in 2023, the A's, Royals, and Rockies have an 18.3% chance of picking first. The other 15 non-playoff team's chances descend from there. There are a few exceptions involving the Nationals a few other teams who broke through the luxury tax threshold, but that's the general idea. The Draft Lottery airs tonight on MLB Network at 5:30 PM EST.

What are the White Sox's odds of getting the #1 pick?

The White Sox, who finished the 2023 season fourth in the AL Central with a 61-101 (.377) record, have a 14.7% chance of picking first in the MLB Draft Lottery. Their chances of picking second through sixth go down a bit with each place, and the White Sox end up with an 11.9% chance of picking sixth. If the lottery shakes out in the way the odds expect, the White Sox should pick fourth in next year's draft, behind the A's, Royals, and Rockies. However, Chicago has a very good chance of picking higher, if not first.

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