What Are They Balancing?

I’ll get to the three Yankees’ draft picks in a minute, but I wanted to point out something that struck me as odd last night. After the Yankees picked 33rd, the draft entered the competitive balance phase before the start of the 2nd round. Here are the teams that got competitive balance picks- Royals, D’backs, Orioles?, Reds??, Tigers???!?  Why do three teams that made the playoffs last year need competitive balance picks?  Ah, welcome to the wonderful world of MLB thinking.

You see MLB is equating competitive balance with small markets. So, it doesn’t matter that the Orioles and Reds were both highly successful last year, they get a leg up. And here’s the really fun part. The Tigers get a pick because they somehow received some revenue sharing, even with the 5th-highest payroll in the game, and are not one of the 15-biggest markets in baseball.

My question in all of this is what exactly is the point of the draft? I thought it was supposed to be a way for bad teams to try and improve themselves with higher picks. So how do you justify sticking three teams that were very good last year ahead of the second pick by the Astros? It makes no sense for me.

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As for the Yankees, there is nothing subtle about what they did with their first two picks. They selected a college third baseman and a college outfielder. Funny, how that worked. Obviously, the hope is the third baseman gets to the Bronx soon and takes over for the guy with $100-million left on his contract and that the outfielder gets there as well and takes over for almost anybody. You can’t fault the thinking, you just have to hope the evaluations are correct.

Their third pick was a power-lefty pitcher and their fourth pick is apparently Paul O’Neill’s nephew. Hopefully, one of these guys makes it to the Bronx one day.