July 17th, 2012

How Tigers qualify for Competitive Balance Lottery

You may have heard about the Competitive Balance Lottery when the new collective bargaining agreement came out last winter, providing a new avenue for smaller market teams to compete against the big boys by awarding them extra draft picks. That draft takes place tomorrow afternoon, deciding 12 picks after the first two rounds among 14 teams.

What you might not have heard is that the Tigers are in the mix for a pick. In fact, the way the lottery works, they have a pretty good chance at gaining a pick.

How is it possible for the Tigers, with the fifth-highest payroll in baseball on Opening Day according to USA Today’s numbers, to be in the Competitive Balance Lottery, you ask?

It’s a complicated formula, but somehow, the Tigers just made it in. Here’s a shot at explaining it, from what I was told:

The picks are divided into two groups — six picks at the end of the first round, six more at the end of the second. The first group of picks are given out among teams with the 10 smallest markets or 10 lowest revenues. That includes 13 teams:  D-backs, Orioles, Indians, Royals, A’s, Pirates, Padres, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Marlins, Brewers and Cardinals.

Six of those 13 teams will end up with a pick. The other seven teams will enter the lottery for the second group of picks. By rule, teams who receive revenue sharing  money and aren’t located among the top 15 markets are also added to that mix. Only one team qualifies this year under those rules — the Tigers. Detroit barely falls outside the top 15 markets, but it does, and the Tigers apparently received a little bit of revenue sharing money last year.

The Tigers will be one of eight teams vying for six picks, so their chances are pretty good. That said, teams’ chances are higher or lower based on their winning percentage last season. So the Tigers’ best shot is if teams like the Royals, Pirates, Padres and Orioles win picks in the first round, pitting Detroit against teams like Milwaukee, St. Louis and Tampa Bay in the second round.

Here’s the kicker to it all: The draft picks awarded in the lottery are tradeable, and according to Jonathan Mayo’s story (link above), teams can deal them as soon as Thursday. If teams are going to trade them, though, they have to do it before the end of the season.

So while we don’t know how clubs will value these picks, since draft picks haven’t been tradeable before, it’s possible they could be like an extra prospect to throw into a trade.

Tuesday’s lineup: Tigers vs. Angels

None of the Tigers have faced Garrett Richards in the big leagues yet, so no numbers to report. However, in Richards’ limited big league time this year, lefties are batting .326 (29-for-89) against him, compared to .231 (12-for-52) for right-handed hitters. Regardless, it’s the same lineup.


  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Quintin Berry, LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, DH
  6. Brennan Boesch, RF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

P: Jacob Turner