Congratulations to the 82-80 2023 New York Yankees for keeping the franchise's streak of above-.500 seasons alive in the least exciting way they possibly could.
This sustained mediocrity resulted in a playoff miss, even though the American League field was potentially more open than it's been since 2017. But, on the bright side, New York's season-long bag fumble has given them at least a minute chance of selecting first overall in the 2024 MLB Draft, something that never would've been possible under the old system.
The No. 1 pick is a much larger prize in the NBA and NFL, of course. While earning the top selection wouldn't grant the Yankees an immediate franchise-changer like Victor Wembanyama, it would give them an unprecedented crack at an elite draft prospect. You can find talent in the MLB Draft anywhere, but ... it's much simpler if you get the first choice.
The MLB Draft Lottery will take place at this December's Winter Meetings, and Oakland, Kansas City, and Colorado will enter as co-favorites, each with an 18.3% chance to take home the loser's prize. Those teams did not finish with the same winning percentage; rather, in a half-hearted anti-tanking effort, the three biggest losers were all given the same odds to disincentivize out-benching one another during the final weeks.
The lottery, in general, evens the playing field and will (hopefully) prevent the next Houston or Baltimore from being "lauded" for their ingenious plan to intentionally suck for many years in order to be rewarded with Alex Bregman and Adley Rutschman. Innovative! Bold! Cunning!
Unfortunately, it means that a middling Red Sox team will always have a non-zero chance at tripping into the ultimate prize, something that feels almost guaranteed to happen under Craig Breslow. This season's middling Yankees team? Standing right behind them.
Yankees 2024 MLB Draft Lottery Odds
Red Sox: 1.2% chance. Yankees: 0.6% chance. It's right there in front of them.
Though the Washington Nationals struggled enough to earn a spot near the top of the lottery, they're ineligible this season because they won a lotto spot last year. Teams that receive, rather than give, in MLB's revenue sharing model are ineligible to luck into a top pick twice. The Nats cannot pick higher than 10th.
The Yanks and Sox, of course, can get lucky two straight years, considering how much Randy Levine generously contributes to the Miami Marlins.
But will either of them earn a top spot once? In order to vault to the top of the chart, the Yankees' minuscule collection of ping pong balls will have to out-jump the A's, Royals, Rockies, White Sox, Cardinals, Angels, Mets, Pirates, Guardians, Tigers, BoSox, Giants, Reds and Padres. The odds of that happening are about the same as the Diamondbacks making the World Ser -- hey, wait a minute.