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Pirates “Get a Break” with No. 1 Pick in Draft Lottery

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Pittsburgh Pirates, Dylan Crews, MLB Draft

SAN DIEGO – The Pittsburgh Pirates are undefeated – at least in Major League Baseball’s draft lottery.

The Pirates drew the first overall pick in next year’s amateur draft Tuesday during baseball’s first-ever lottery at the Winter Meetings at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

The draft order previously was determined by inverse order of the previous regular season standings. Under that format, the Pirates would have had the No. 3 pick in 2023.

The Pirates and Cincinnati Reds tied for the third-worst record in the major leagues in 2022 at 62-100 behind the Washington Nationals (55-107) and Oakland Athletics (60-102).

However, as part of the collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players that was reached in March, a weighted lottery was introduced to determine the top six picks.

Teams’ odds of landing a higher pick were still weighted in favor of teams with worse records. The Pirates had a 16.5% chance of getting the first selection.

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“First time, it was exciting to be a part of it,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said. “Obviously you don’t know you’re going to be No. 1, so you really get to be a part of it when you’re No. 1. It is kind of exciting. We’ll think back, and we got that first chair in the first lottery.

“Every once in a while, in this business, you get a break against you. And every once in a while, you get a break go for you. We got one tonight.”

Scouting director Joe DelliCarri represented the Pittsburgh Pirates at the lottery. He smiled when a reporter asked whom the Pirates would select with the pick.

“Everyone is already asking,” he said.

In Baseball America’s latest rankings, the top-five draft-eligible players are LSU outfielder Dylan Crews, Tennessee right-hander Chase Dollander, Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez, Franklin (Ind.) Community High School outfielder Max Clark and Southport (N.C.) South Brunswick High School outfielder Walker Jenkins.

“There’s not much of a difference in terms of the evaluation of the players,” Cherington said of having the No. 1 pick. “There is a little bit the night of the draft because you’re not reacting off of anything else. I think the night of the draft it’s a little bit different, but the process between now and then won’t be any different.”

John Perrotto is a columnist for Pittsburgh Baseball Now and has covered the Pittsburgh Pirates and MLB since 1988.

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