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Elephant Rumblings: Did lightning strike the A’s twice?

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Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!

There is no shortage of disappointment among A’s fans concerning the results of yesterday’s Draft lottery. The A’s had the worst record in MLB this year, but only drew the fourth pick in the lottery. That was a disappointing result, but not really all that unlucky.

I was unable to find a 2024 Draft lottery odds chart that accounts for the Nationals’ ineligibility due to their revenue “sharer” status, but the odds posted at Tankathon are close enough for a ballpark estimate. According to their chart, the A’s were actually only 46.6% likely to land a top three pick.

However—and apologies for my unwillingness to dust off my college statistics textbook—with the Nationals out of the equation, I think the A’s had a slightly better than 50% chance of getting better than the fourth pick they wound up with.

The same Tankathon chart should be more accurate for assessing the 2023 Draft lottery odds—you just need to plug the teams into their appropriate slots. The A’s were the second-worst MLB team in 2022, but they fared even worse than this year and got the sixth pick. The odds of that result or worse were just under 30%.

Based on this back-of-napkin analysis, that means that in getting the sixth and fourth pick in successive years despite being one of three teams with the best odds in both years, the A’s bad luck was about equal to rolling “1” on a six-sided die. That’s not even nearly as unlucky as rolling snake eyes, let alone being struck by lightning, twice. But it certainly does suck.

Maybe it’s just bad karma.

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