What are competitive balance picks in MLB Draft? Explaining special picks that can be traded
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Due to changes in Major League Baseball, the ability to do certain trades and sign specific players has become a valued tool for teams looking to acquire a competitive edge. One such tool exists in the form of “competitive balance picks,” which are special picks that teams can use during the MLB Draft. This article will explain in detail what competitive balance picks are, how they are acquired, and how they can be used to help a team’s long-term success.
What are competitive balance picks in MLB Draft? Explaining special picks that can be traded

Table of Contents

1. The MLB Draft: Exploring Competitive Balance Picks

The MLB draft delivers a welcome inclusion of balance to the largest North American professional sport. Through its competitive balance picks, the MLB seeks to level the playing field.

These picks, dispersed among different teams, creates greater parity and entices fan support from all 30 teams. Each pick has a corresponding round in the draft and, depending on the specific type of pick, adjusts a team’s likelihood of success. Types of competitive balance picks include:

  • Compensation picks
  • Lottery picks
  • Supplemental picks

Teams that receive these picks have the opportunity to handpick an elite prospect that would’ve been otherwise unobtainable in a typical draft situation. This gives smaller teams the extra boost of confidence needed to go up against the more well-endowed teams. Ultimately, this increases the competitive spirit of the MLB and gives smaller teams the chance to compete at that same level.

1. The MLB Draft: Exploring Competitive Balance Picks

2. Examining the Assignment and Acquisition of Compensation Picks

The compensation pick is the cornerstone of teams looking to build upon their depth. It helps encourage teams to invest in their farm systems and eventually field a competitive team. But the process of how these picks are assigned and acquired has been a topic of debate in major league circles for some time.

For starters, it’s important to understand how teams acquire a compensation pick. When a team makes an effort to sign a qualified free agent, they are often eligible for a compensation pick. Teams can also be assigned a compensation pick in other ways, such as when their team signs a top-ranked player from another team or when the team trades away a major leaguer. Once the pick is acquired, teams must decide how best to use it.

The types of players teams look for when making acquisitions with compensation picks vary depending on need. Some teams may prefer to add a slugger to the lineup while others may look to bolster their pitching staff. With this in mind, teams must use their compensation picks to best serve their respective goals. They may also need to consider the quality of the players available and the potential impact those players will have on their team.

  • Examining the Assignment of Compensation Picks
    • Understanding how teams acquire a compensation pick
  • Acquisition of Compensation Picks
    • Types of players teams look for
    • Factoring in quality and potential impact

3. Understanding the Market Value of Special Picks

When selecting a special pick, it is important to understand the value of the item. Whether it’s a one-of-a-kind collectible, vintage piece or rare find, you’ll want to make sure you get the most for your money.

For this reason, it’s prudent to do your research to understand the current market trends and what similar items are getting. Additionally, consider consideration other factors like rarity, authenticity, condition and popularity. It may also be wise to consult with a professional valuator for an accurate appraisal.

  • Rarity. Unique items often come with a high price tag as they are not easily obtained by others.
  • Authenticity. Be sure to check for clear verifiable evidence that a piece is original and not a reproduction or knockoff.
  • Condition. Make sure there is no visible damage or wear and tear before investing in a special pick.
  • Popularity. Popularity can affect the value of a piece. If demand is high, prices will be higher as supply is limited.

4. Unlocking the Potential of Competitive Balance Trades

Competitive balance trades, or CBTs, is an increasingly popular way for teams to bolster their rosters without breaking the bank. The challenge with CBTs, however, often lies in properly identifying and targeting the right players to acquire. To truly unlock the potential of CBT opportunities, leveraging all available resources is key.

One of the primary benefits of CBTs is the extensive range of options they offer teams. For instance, teams could potentially target veteran players to bring experience and leadership to the clubhouse, or younger, rising prospects to gain long-term value. Taking this a step further, CBTs can also provide teams with a unique opportunity to acquire high-priced players, such as ace starters, without having to surrender multiple valuable assets.

Through thorough scouting and extensive knowledge of the market, teams are able to evaluate all their options and determine the best trade partner. Data-driven analytics can also aid in identifying ideal trade candidates based on the team’s needs. Lastly, teams must evaluate the potential risks of any potential trades and not make a deal for the sake of it.

  • Scout thoroughly and have a clear understanding of the market
  • Evaluate all trade options and targets
  • Use analytics to identify the best trade partner
  • Examine and evaluate the potential risks of any trade

In sum, teams must employ the right strategies and resources to maximize their CBT potential. By way of employing a combination of scouting and analytics, teams can unlock the potential of CBTs and turn them into the key to success.


Q: What are competitive balance picks in the MLB Draft?
A: Competitive balance picks are special selections at the beginning of the MLB Draft that are awarded to select teams in order to create more parity between major market and small-market teams.

Q: How are competitive balance picks determined?
A: The MLB Commissioner’s Office determines the level of competitive balance based on market size and past success and then awards extra picks in the Draft accordingly.

Q: How do competitive balance picks work?
A: These special picks are given in the first and second rounds of the Draft and can be traded in exchange for players and prospects. Teams can also convert their competitive balance picks into cash if they choose.

Q: Are there any teams that don’t get competitive balance picks?
A: The Blue Jays, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers, and Giants are excluded from receiving competitive balance picks in the MLB Draft.


The MLB draft is a fascinating complex process, and the special competitive balance rounds offer another interesting layer of trades and deals for teams to take advantage of. Despite the often unpredictable nature of the draft, these rounds provide valuable incentivefor teams to acquire the top talent early and maximize their draft preparation and success.

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