For MLB teams to obtain a protected first round draft pick in 2013, they will have to finish this year with one of the nine worst records in baseball. Though the top ten draft choices are protected under the sport’s new collective bargaining agreement, one of those selections will go to the Pirates, who did not sign their 2012 first round pick, Mark Appel. This means the nine teams with the worst records in baseball will have protected first round selections in 2013, MLB confirmed to MLBTR.
MLB determines the order of its amateur draft by upending the order of the previous year’s standings. As MLBTR’s Reverse Standings page shows, the Astros, Cubs, Rockies, Twins, Indians, Marlins, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Royals would obtain protected draft picks if the season ended today. The Mets, Marlins and Padres could obtain protected draft picks depending on the results of the season’s final week.
Teams must forfeit a draft pick to sign a free agent who declined a qualifying offer from his former club. If a team's first round pick is protected, the team will forfeit its next highest selection.
“A Club that signs one Qualified Free Agent who is subject to compensation shall forfeit its highest available selection in the next Rule 4 Draft,” the CBA reads. “Notwithstanding the above, a Club shall not be required to forfeit a selection in the top ten of the first round.”
Top first round selections are especially valuable under baseball’s CBA. Not only does a top-ten draft choice provide teams with a wider selection of players, it assures them of a protected pick, regardless of what happens in free agency.
While the top ten selections cannot be forfeited as draft pick compensation, picks from 11 on are vulnerable. This year finishing with the tenth-worst record in MLB won't be enough to obtain a protected pick.