ANAHEIM, Calif. — As the Los Angeles Angels approach the final weekend of the season and their final three games against the Oakland Athletics, there isn’t much reason to show much concern or care for the series, at least on paper. While nine teams are looking to alter their playoff scenario, or even break into the final picture for October, the Halos and A’s are long gone from that picture. However, for the Angels, there are millions of dollars at stake.
With the MLB Draft now seeing a draft lottery, every spot in the reverse order of the standings can alter both a selection place in the draft, while almost as important or even more vital, is the bonus figures attached to each selection. Bonus pools can dictate how much money a team can spend on their incoming draft class and rises with each higher pick, thus, the higher the pick and more selections attained are viewed more for the money attached as opposed to the actual order of selection it falls.
In the Angels current situation going into the final weekend of the season, they would have the sixth best odds of attaining the first overall selection, and/or, moving up to the top three picks in the draft. As follows, the teams with the three worst records from 2023 will have a 16.5% chance of attaining the first overall pick, with the fourth having a 13.25% chance, fifth a 10.0% chance, sixth a 7.5% opportunity, sixth a 5.5%, seventh a 3.9%, ninth a 2.7%, and so on and so forth decreasing as the standings fall.
With the Angels current 71 wins on the 2023 campaign, they will not be able to leapfrog any of the first four teams (Oakland, Kansas City, Chicago (AL)), but can maneuver anywhere between the fifth to ninth best odds pending their victories or losses over the series against Oakland. Notably, due to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Washington Nationals cannot pick higher than the 10th selection due to being a big market team who were among the winners of the 2022/23 draft lottery, while the CBA indicates that no “big market” team can win the lottery in back-to-back years. According to Joe Doyle of Future Stars Series, Washington, regardless of their standings, cannot pick any higher than the 10th selection due to the CBA ruling.
Looking at the overall standings, they are two victories above the St. Louis Cardinals, while being one win shy of the New York Mets, and three wins short of both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers. Even if one of those teams or one with lesser odds beyond the 10th worst record in the league does jump, the Angels would only fall one position in the draft from whatever landing spot they have in the reverse standings order.
Without any assumption the Angels could be one of the winners in the draft lottery, the bonus pool figures in 2023 from the fifth to ninth pick varied by $1,720,700 in bonus figures, which was roughly the same value as the 50th overall pick in the draft. In Layman’s terms, that would mean picking fifth as opposed to picking ninth would give you a full extra second round picks worth of bonus.
With Shohei Ohtani’s looming free agency, the Angels could attain a compensation draft selection if they offer Ohtani a qualifying offer — they will — and he signs anywhere other than with the Angels. That compensation selection could alter the bonus pool as well, as if the Angels surpass the luxury tax in 2023, the compensation pick would come following the fourth round as opposed to after the second round, though there are altering reports of whether or not the Angels will go over the luxury tax which will not be known until after the season when finances are finalized. In 2023, the post-second-round compensation picks came with bonus slots of $1.101 million to $1.0475 million, while the post-fourth-round compensation picks had bonus slots of $492,700 to $469,000, giving another bonus pool variance of $632,000 (all figures based on 2023 bonus pool which will be raised universally with each pick in 2024).
With a farm system ranking near the bottom of every outlet’s rankings, the Angels could utilize an extra $1-2 million in amateur funds that would not only bolster their farm system, but more importantly, bring talented future Major Leaguers into the organization that could help re-create a staple for the club as Mike Trout goes deeper into his 30’s and an unknown of whether or not Shohei Ohtani will be part of the Angels next decade.