The Mets entered 2023 with World Series aspirations thanks to an MLB-record $350-plus million payroll. The only thing they’ve won is a Platinum Toilet Award while also restocking the farm system a bit. Oh, and their first-round selection in the 2024 MLB Draft might be protected!
For a club that also wants to build a sustainable contender while trying to win right now, that would be some silver lining. With the final week of the 2023 regular season upon us, what’s the status of that draft selection?
The Mets blew past the $290 million luxury tax threshold over the winter like it was nothing. With that comes repercussions that go beyond simply paying a tax on the overage. New York’s first-round pick in the 2024 MLB Draft would also get knocked down 10 spots, depending on where they finished.
But since the Amazins fell so short of expectations, there’s a chance the first-round pick will actually be protected. It’ll be harder to accomplish than in years past thanks to changes in how the draft order is determined, though.
If the Mets get one of the top six picks in next year’s draft, that selection will be protected. Their draft compensation penalty would instead come in the second round, pushing that selection 10 spots back from its original place.
Heading into Monday’s games, the Mets have the seventh-worst record in baseball among eligible teams (thanks to the Nationals being ineligible for this). Here’s what the top 8 (er, bottom 8) looks like:
- Oakland Athletics: 48-108
- Kansas City Royals: 54-102
- Colorado Rockies: 56-99
- Chicago White Sox: 60-96
- St. Louis Cardinals: 68-88
- Los Angeles Angels: 70-86
- New York Mets: 71-85
- Detroit Tigers: 73-83
In the past, the calculus was simple. The worse of a record a team produces, the better their draft-pick positioning is. But now, there’s a lottery in place to determine a draft order and all 18 non-playoff teams are involved.
A team’s chances of getting the top overall pick obviously increase depending on how bad their record is. Teams with the three worst records have the best chance (16.50%). As it currently stands, the Mets have a 5.50% chance of getting the top overall pick. If they can leapfrog the Angels (7.50%) or Cardinals (10.00%), those odds will increase slightly.
While nabbing the top overall pick would be great, the chances of that happening are slim. However, hoping to land somewhere within the top six is a legitimate possibility. That would allow New York to once again select a player that’ll likely get inserted right into their top-30 prospects.
The Mets have six games left to play. Their first three will be against the Marlins, who are fighting for a wild-card spot. Their last three will be against the Phillies, a playoff-bound team who just completed a four-game sweep against them over the weekend.
We’ll see where they land on the odds scale within the next few days. New York is flirting with its first 90-loss season since 2017 (70-92). Nobody wants to see that, but for the cases of protecting that first-round pick, maybe it won’t be such a bad thing.