Explaining the MLB Draft competitive balance rounds

Tigers reliever Corey Knebel made it to the majors in 2014 after being drafted in Competitive Balance Round A last year. - Leon Halip

What are the competitive balance rounds? How does a team qualify for them? We have answers to those questions, and more.

The MLB First-Year Player Draft was affected by several changes in the last Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was reached in 2011. One of the biggest was the implementation of the Competitive Balance Lottery, which awards extra draft picks within the top 100 overall selections to teams in the bottom 10 of the league in revenue and market size, in addition to any other team that received revenue sharing in the previous year.

As a result of those qualifications, the following teams were eligible to be granted a selection in one of the two competitive balance rounds in the 2014 draft: Athletics, Brewers, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Indians, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rays, Reds, Rockies and Royals. Prior season record determines the chances a team has of getting a higher pick (or a pick at all), and by virtue of their 64-98 record in 2012, the Rockies won the first pick of Competitive Balance Round A in a lottery that was held in July of 2013.

The Rockies, Orioles, Indians, Marlins, Royals and Brewers were awarded picks in Round A, which takes place between the first and second rounds. The Padres, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Rays, Pirates and Mariners were given Round B selections, which will happen between the second and third rounds. The A's and Reds missed out entirely, largely due to their slim chances of grabbing a pick as a result of their first-place finishes in 2012.

One thing that applies to the competitive balance picks that isn't in play elsewhere in the draft is the ability to trade the rights to these selections. There's no better example of that than what happened on Sunday, when the Marlins flipped one of their two Round A picks -- one was earned through the lottery and the other is a compensatory pick given to them after they failed to sign their No. 35 overall pick last year -- to the Pirates in exchange for right-handed reliever Bryan Morris.

Two other selections in the 2014 competitive balance rounds changed hands over the past year. The Astros will take the place of the Orioles in Round A after obtaining the rights to the pick in the Bud Norris trade last July and the D-Backs will have the first two picks in Round B as a result of landing the Padres' selection in a deal that sent Ian Kennedy to San Diego last summer.

The competitive balance rounds debuted in the 2013 draft. Only one of the 12 players selected in those two rounds -- Tigers reliever Corey Knebel -- has made it to the majors. However, Knebel, Sean Manaea (Royals) and Aaron Blair (D-Backs) are included in Minor League Ball's list of top 150 prospects for 2014.

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