The balance of competition within baseball is unfair, and sometimes baseball tries to fix that with rules like profit sharing and the awarding of draft picks.
For the third year in a row, "Competitive Balance Round" picks have been a thing, but not something that sat well with the Rays brass when the team missed out in 2015.
DRaysBay: The Cardinals, one of the most successful franchises in baseball over the past 20 years received a competitive balance pick while the Rays did not. Do you think the process needs to be changed?
Matt Silverman: We are strong advocates for improving access to talent for lower revenue clubs. That is key to creating competitive balance. When the Rays aren't receiving the poorly-named "competitive balance" picks, something's off. But there's a lot more to creating competitive balance than doling out a couple of sandwich picks.
The Rays received a competitive balance pick for the 2014 draft, and used the 72nd overall selection on a kid named Brent Honeywell. He's likely the second highest rated pitcher in the Rays farm system today. These picks are rather important, and the system does not always benefit those in need of balance (read: small market franchises).
Among the 15 teams eligible for the 12 picks each year, six are awarded in Round A (following the first round), and six are awarded in Round B (following the second round). Once the six are selected for each, they are awarded percentage weights, and the six are draft at random yet again to decide an order.
In the third year of the process, the Rays have been awarded a second round draft pick, so at least the team is back in the conversation.
Here's how it worked this year:
Twelve teams were eligible to win a pick in Round A this year: the D-backs, Rockies, Reds, Marlins, Padres, Rays, Brewers, Indians, A's, Pirates, Royals and Cardinals. The six clubs that did not win a selection in Round A (the Padres, Indians, Twins, Brewers, Orioles and Rays), along with the three clubs who received revenue-sharing funds this year (the Orioles, Twins and Mariners) were eligible for a Round B pick. The Cardinals, Royals and Mariners were the three teams that were eligible but did not receive a pick.
The Royals were in the World Series last year, so perhaps "fairness" is a bit easier to stomach when they miss out in the following draft awards, but if the Cardinals had snuck into the process a third year running, I imagine there would have been many upset.
Here's the concluding relevant details on the draft picks:
In 2015, picks in Competitive Balance Round A added an average of $1,566,617 to each team's pool. The Competitive Balance Round B picks augmented each club's pool by an average $839,940.
The Competitive Balance Round picks are the only Draft selections permitted to be traded, subject to some restrictions. Each lottery pick can be traded only once and cash can't be involved in the transaction. The choices can be dealt only during the regular season, up until 5 p.m. ET on the first day of the Draft.
Info via mlb.com