MLB Draft 2015: Draft Order, Compensation Picks & New CBA Rules

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Former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig at the podium during last year’s MLB Draft. (Getty)

The MLB Entry Draft order is determined mostly like how every other draft is determined: the worst team from the year before gets the first-overall selection and so on.

Due to MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, there are ways of protecting teams, league parity and essentially “balancing the draft” more fairly so that teams who spend more money are deducted picks, teams who lose free agents are awarded picks and teams who don’t spend nearly as often are also awarded picks. Bigger markets with higher television revenue — markets such as Los Angeles and New York — or markets with lenient state income-tax laws — like markets in Florida and Texas — are obviously more attractive to free agents.

The Arizona Diamondbacks finished a league-worst 67-95 last season and own the top pick in this year’s MLB Draft.

Here is the rest of the 2015 draft order:


1 Arizona Diamondbacks
2 Houston Astros
3 Colorado Rockies
4 Texas Rangers
5 Houston Astros
6 Minnesota Twins
7 Boston Red Sox
8 Chicago White Sox
9 Chicago Cubs
10 Philadelphia Phillies
11 Cincinnati Reds
12 Miami Marlins
13 Tampa Bay Rays
14 Atlanta Braves
15 Milwaukee Brewers
16 New York Yankees
17 Cleveland Indians
18 San Francisco Giants
19 Pittsburgh Pirates
20 Oakland Athletics
21 Kansas City Royals
22 Detroit Tigers
23 St. Louis Cardinals
24 Los Angeles Dodgers
25 Baltimore Orioles
26 Los Angeles Angels
Compensation (Sandwich-pick) Round:
27 Colorado Rockies
28 Atlanta Braves
29 Toronto Blue Jays
30 New York Yankees
31 San Francisco Giants
32 Pittsburgh Pirates
33 Kansas City Royals
34 Detroit Tigers
35 Los Angeles Dodgers
36 Baltimore Orioles

Each team receives compensatory picks as a result of Free Agency:

– The Rockies let OF Michael Cuddyer’s leave in Free Agency — signed with the Mets
– The Braves let SP Ervin Santana leave in Free Agency — signed with the Twins and has since been suspended 80 games for PED use
– The Blue Jays let OF Melky Cabrera leave in Free Agency — signed with the White Sox
– The Yankees let RP David Robertson leave in Free Agency — signed with the White Sox
– The Pirates let C Russell Martin leave in Free Agency — signed with the Blue Jays
– The Royals let James Shields leave in Free Agency — signed with the Padres
– The Tigers let Max Scherzer leave in Free Agency — signed with the Nationals
– The Dodgers let Hanley Ramirez leave in Free Agency — signed with the Red Sox
– The Orioles let Nelson Cruz leave in Free Agency — signed with the Mariners

Compensatory picks are almost always rewarded due to a player leaving in Free Agency.

Under old CBA rules, free agents received a letter grade of A, B or C based on their production from the previous season. Signing Grade A free agents resulted in a loss of a first-round draft pick and a middle-round draft pick to the team the free agent played for last. Grade B free agents resulted in a loss of a middle-round pick. Grade C resulted in no compensation.

Under new CBA rules, the players who are subject to compensation was dramatically limited. Teams are able to extend a Qualifying Offer — the average of MLB’s top 125 salaries — to potential free agents; free agents then have the decision to accept the offer or walk. Once a free agent is signed, the new team that signs him forfeits a first-round selection while the old team gains a compensatory pick.

In 2013, the qualifying offer was $13.3 million. In regards to how players were specifically subjected to compensation during the offseason between 2012 and 2013:

…the new system has reduced the number of players who end up subject to compensation. Players who might make much less than $13.3 million were often offered arbitration. Last winter, 37 players (13 Type A and 24 Type B) were offered arbitration. The year before, it was 35 (14 Type A and 21 Type B).

The new system benefits teams that let players leave in Free Agency, which is why it is happening more often. The biggest example of this was the Yankees letting Robinson Cano leave and sign with the Mariners after 2013 ended.

The 2015 MLB Entry Draft will be held from June 8-10 at MLB Network’s studio in Secaucus, New Jersey and will be televised in its entirety on the MLB Network.