July 18th, 2012

Tigers win pick in Competitive Balance Lottery

Never thought I’d be writing this covering baseball, but the ping-pong balls worked out in the Tigers’ favor Wednesday. Thanks to MLB’s new Competitive Balance Lottery, Detroit picked up an extra pick at the end of the second round of next summer’s First-Year Player Draft. And they might not even have to wait that long to reap the benefits of it.

I wrote yesterday about the rules quirk that allowed the Tigers, with baseball’s fifth-highest payroll, into the Competitive Balance Lottery, and what it could mean for them heading into the July 31 trade deadline. The Tigers were one of eight teams in the lottery for six picks at the end of the second round (six picks were also awarded at the end of the first round, but Detroit wasn’t eligible for those), and they got the last of them. Depending on how many free-agent compensation picks are doled out this coming offseason, the Tigers’ pick should fall somewhere in the mid- to late 70s in the overall order.

By comparison, the Tigers didn’t make their first pick in last month’s First-Year Player Draft until the 91st overall selection. They didn’t come up in the 2011 Draft until the 76th pick.

In those drafts, the Tigers lost their first-round pick thanks to signing free agents under the old rules. Now, not only did they gain a pick, it could help them gain another big-name player if they need an extra trading chip.

That’s right, trading draft picks. That’s the other new quirk about this Competitive Balance Lottery. The picks awarded through the lottery are tradeable, allowing teams to trade draft picks for the first time ever. Moreover, they’re tradeable now, giving the Tigers an extra enticement leading up to the trade deadline.

In many ways, it’s like an extra prospect the Tigers can deal without taking away from the farm system they have. It’s not only about the pick, but the extra draft spending that comes with it. Even if another team isn’t intrigued by where the pick falls, that team could sign somebody under slot and use the money on other picks.

Wednesday’s lineup: Tigers vs. Angels

As you would expect, left-handed batters are hitting just .180 with 35 strikeouts in 113 plate appearances off C.J. Wilson. However, right-handed hitters aren’t much better, batting just .209 (67-for-321) off him. So while Quintin Berry gets the expected night off in favor of Ryan Raburn, who’s 4-for-7 off Wilson (including postseason), loading up on righties doesn’t guarantee success. Jhonny Peralta is just 2-for-19 with eight strikeouts against Wilson, for instance. Delmon Young was just 3-for-15 against Wilson before homering twice off him in last year’s ALCS.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Ryan Raburn, LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, DH
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  7. Brennan Boesch, RF
  8. Gerald Laird, C
  9. Danny Worth, 2B

P: Doug Fister

ANGELS

  1. Mike Trout, CF
  2. Torii Hunter, RF
  3. Albert Pujols, 1B
  4. Mark Trumbo, LF
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH
  6. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
  7. Howie Kendrick, 2B
  8. Erick Aybar, SS
  9. John Hester, C

P: C.J. Wilson

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