The 2024 Draft Lottery

When will the Washington Nationals pick in the next MLB Draft?

Odds on favorite is 10th, with a small chance at 11 and an infinitesimally smaller chance they pick at #12. The draft lottery is at 5:30pm ET on Tuesday, December 5.

The table above was created from running one million simulations of a draft using my understanding of the rules in place:

  1. The Nationals can pick no better than 10th per the rules as a lottery pick in the previous draft
  2. Once the top 6 teams are picked, the remaining picks are ordered based on record.
  3. Three teams (Mets, Padres, Yankees) due to CBT violations have a 10 pick penalty if they don’t get one of the top ten picks in the lottery.

Some details about the layout of the table above:

  1. The three WC teams are listed as possibly getting into the top 18 (but not top 6) based on the 6 pick penalty for the Mets, Padres and Yankees.
  2. 19+ is a placeholder for those picks pushed back 10 spots due to the 6 pick penalty as well as for the WC teams that did not move up due to the 10 pick penalty.
  3. Seems pretty clear that it is very likely that the Nats pick 10.

One caveat based on the 0.00% value for that Nats picking 12th. There were 7 cases in the million simulations where that occurred. These seven cases all involved teams getting higher picks than the 6 teams who had one of the sixth worst records. That is, none of the teams with one of the sixth worse record got a top 6 pick. In all seven of these cases.

The caveat is a wrinkle that I could not find a definitive answer for. What about the Cardinals who got the 6th slot (the Nats were 5th)? Do they pick ahead of the Nationals if they don’t get a top 6 pick and 6 teams with worse records do. I think they do. But if not, just add 7/1,000,000 (.0007%) cases to the .10% for picking 11th. 😊

So here’s to an almost certain #10 pick for the Nats in the 2024 draft.

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