The Washington Nationals Have Won The MLB Draft Lottery! Only, Not Really.

In the second ever lottery drawing for the MLB Draft, the Nationals, who had the second overall selection last season, were even more fortunate this time around as they actually won the lottery. However, despite winning the lottery they won't be drafting until 10th overall.
Jul 11, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred talks to the media before the
Jul 11, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred talks to the media before the / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

He's laughing. The Nationals got screwed out of having the first overall pick in the 2024 MLB Draft, and Rob Manfred is laughing.

Not really, but just what I imagine unfolded in yesterday's MLB Draft Lottery drawing. The Cleveland Guardians, who only had a 2% chance of winning the lottery, ended up with the first overall pick in the upcoming MLB Draft, which is their first number one selection in Franchise history.

This, however, came after the Nationals, who were ineligible to draft in the lottery again this year as they drafted second overall last year and contribute to the league's shared revenue system, were selected as the winning lottery number in the MLB Draft.

The Nationals still draft 10th and will be poised to add yet another top prospect to their growing farm system, but they could have been in a really good position after 2023 and 2024's drafts with two top 2 picks joining the fray. Just when you accept that it is a bummer and move on, it gets worse...

The Nationals got screwed out of the FIRST overall pick AND the SECOND overall pick. Just brutal luck. Hopefully they can retain some of this "luck of the draw" into next year's MLB Draft, when prized prospect Ethan Holiday is set to become draft eligible. Better yet, perennial lottery teams such as the Athletics, White Sox and Rockies will be locked out of the Draft Lottery next season due to selecting in the lottery back to back seasons or contributing to the league's revenue sharing system like the Nationals. It does not mean the Nationals are a lock to select early in the draft, but it certainly helps their chances.

For what it is worth, I actually think the MLB Draft Lottery is executing what it was designed to do well. The lottery, among other recent implementations such as the draft compensation for calling up prospects sooner as opposed to manipulating their service time, is meant to deter teams from tearing down their rosters to the studs (or even further if you are the Oakland Athletics) and from fielding a low payroll. If you look at those same Athletics, they had the best odds to win the draft lottery each of the past two seasons but drafted 6th overall last season and will now draft 4th overall this season. It is an anti-tanking measure that is slowly working, but tanking has been extremely prevalent in baseball for quite some time so it will likely take some time before we see teams accept that they cannot solely build through the draft as the lottery is a crapshoot.

For teams like the Reds, who experienced a jolt of energy due to their young prospects hitting the Major Leagues last season and nearly clinching a playoff spot because of it, you absolutely love the draft lottery. Despite having some of the lowest odds to win the lottery, the Reds wound up with the second overall pick, thanks again to the Nationals getting screwed out of the pick. However, the Reds' fortune further proves that teams should not tank.

It was also revealed, for those wondering, that the Nationals' numbers could not be removed from the drawing as that would have shifted the odds for every other team's drawing, which makes sense. It is just insult to injury for us Nationals fans as we had previously known that we could not select any higher than 10th this upcoming draft.

Here is the finalized draft order:

So let mock draft season begin. The College Baseball season, as always, will be a fun one to watch as there is not really a consensus number one overall prospect this season like Dylan Crews was last year. Perhaps we get another ascension into stardom like Paul Skenes pulled off last season. At 10th overall, the Nationals are in prime position to swoop in and select a player who likely should have gone higher but fell due to teams ahead of them going underslot with their selections, similar to how they ended up with Brady House a couple of years ago.

The early name to watch is LSU's Tommy White, better known as "Tommy Tanks." He, along with Dylan Crews, powered LSU to a National Championship last season and the Nationals could pair them together again. White is currently a third baseman, but will likely fit better at first base in the Majors and Minors, something the Nationals could use. My personal dream scenario is one where the Nationals wind up with Jac Caglianone out of Florida, who led the Nation in Home Runs last season and has legitimate two-way potential as he throws 99 MPH and has hit 101 MPH in side sessions.