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S. Korean baseball league seeking to adopt draft lottery next year

All Headlines 11:17 January 09, 2012

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- The country's top baseball league may adopt a lottery system for its annual rookie draft as early as next year, officials said Monday.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) is scheduled to hold its first board meeting of 2012 on Tuesday, and the key item on the agenda will be the change to the draft system.

Currently, the draft in the eight-team KBO takes place in a reverse-record order, like the National Football League (NFL). That means the team with the worst record in the previous year automatically earns the first overall pick and the league champion picks eighth and last in the first round.

But the KBO teams' general managers have proposed to owners that a lottery system should be put in place, at least for the first round of the draft.

In their proposal, the four non-playoff clubs from the previous season will enter a lottery for the right to the first overall selection. Aside from the lottery winner, the three remaining non-playoff teams will split second, third and fourth picks.

The other four teams that competed in the postseason will then draft in the reverse order of their record.

In North American sports, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) use lottery systems for their drafts.

General managers say the change is to ensure teams don't lose games on purpose late in the season to finish in last place and earn themselves the first pick in the next draft.

"In the past, we've seen instances when teams out of playoff contention tanked on purpose to give themselves a chance to draft highly-touted rookies," one general manager said, requesting anonymity. "If our proposal passes at the board meeting, then the pennant race will likely remain competitive until the end."

Even if the lottery does get put in place for next year, the expansion NC Dinos, set to join the KBO in 2013, will automatically get the first pick, since they won't have any KBO record from 2012. The four non-playoff clubs from 2012 will vie for the second, third, fourth and fifth pick in the lottery.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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