Personally, I love that the MLB is doing this. I'm a fan of anything that discourages tanking but more than that, I love the spectacle of watching teams lose out on the number one pick in real time.
This is an annual source of entertainment that the NBA provides each year. It's wild seeing major team executives and players show disappointment then instantly try to hide it because they know they are on TV. Here's how people looked when they missed on Lebron (and Bosh, Wade and Carmelo). I love the BJ Armstrong and Vince Carter looks:
I don't know if we'll get people as annoyed when they show this next month. The MLB draft just doesn't have the same immediate return that the NBA or NFL has. The better comparison would be the NHL which recently put in a lottery system as well. One difference I do like with the MLB draft as opposed to the NBA is it will let the lottery define the odds for the top six picks (not only the top five picks like in the NBA). Can you imagine if the NFL did a draft lottery? It would be amazing seeing teams melt down knowing ping pong balls kept them from getting the next Peyton Manning.
As for the MLB Lottery, there are three teams with the best possible chance at the top pick: Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland A's. I see the Nationals as the Orlando Magic of the MLB Draft. Both teams have gotten a few number one picks already (Magic with Shaq, Dwight Howard and technically Chris Webber; Nationals with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper). The A's have entirely tanked to force themselves out of Oakland and to Las Vegas. It's hard to want them to get it. That leaves the Pirates, who have been living on the cheap for so long, I can't bring myself to root for that ownership group to win this.
Among the teams with a possible shot, I like the Tigers. They just got a new GM and seem more committed to winning than a lot of teams that surround them. They just make bad choices. I like the Rangers in this lottery for the same reason.
I understand why they are doing this at the Winter Meetings because it's the one time when everyone in baseball is all in the same spot but with the lottery coming so far before the actual draft in June, it does take away some of the fun of knowing whoever wins will get Alex Rodriguez or Bryce Harper or some other phenom that is a lock to be drafted first.
But other than the timing of this, I'm looking forward to the MLB Draft Lottery. I have to leave you with this 2017 NBA Draft Lottery which has a great Joel Embiid reaction and Walt Clyde Frazier dressed as you might expect.