Here's how to determine the MLB draft order:
- You start by upending the previous year's standings. The team with the worst record in the league gets the top pick in the following year's draft.
- Sometimes, more than one team will have the same record. In 2008, for instance, the Reds, Rockies and Tigers all finished 74-88.
- In that case, you go back one more season and compare those records. The Rockies finished ahead of the Reds and Tigers in 2007, so they were the last of the three teams to select in 2009. The Tigers finished ahead of the Reds in '07, so they picked after Cincinnati.
- If a team fails to sign its first rounder, they get a pick in the next year's draft. A team that fails to sign the tenth overall pick gets the 11th overall selection the following year. A team that fails to sign the 21st overall pick, gets the 22nd pick the following year.
- The first 10 picks in the draft are protected, so if one of those teams signs a free agent who turned down a qualifying offer, it will lose its second round pick instead. Any draft pick obtained for failing to sign a pick the previous year is also not subject to forfeiture.
- After the first round is the compensatory round, for any team that lost a free agent who turned down a qualifying offer. Then comes Competitive Balance Round A, then Round 2, then Competitive Balance Round 3, Round 4, etc. Competitive balance picks are given out through a lottery, as explained here by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.