Like so many things Major League Baseball does, Wednesday's Competitive Balance Lottery (which takes place at 1:30, although the results won't be known until 2:45) doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Unlike so many other things Major League Baseball does, though, at least it has some chance of helping the Pirates.
Here's a full explanation. 13 teams (the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Orioles, Indians, Royals, Athletics, Padres, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Marlins, Brewers and Cardinals) are eligible for the first portion of the lottery. These teams are chosen by market size and revenue, which explains why, for example, the Cardinals are in there. Each team's odds of winning the lottery will be determined by its 2011 winning percentage. Six teams from those 13 will get extra draft picks at the end of the compensation picks that follow the first round.
Then, the remaining teams will be entered into a second lottery, along with the Tigers, who will be added because they don't fit the market size and revenue criteria but do receive revenue sharing. Six teams out of eight will receive picks following the second round. (That means one or two teams in the original lottery won't get a pick at all, which is silly and kind of funny, unless one of those teams turns out to be the Pirates.)
These picks can be traded, but only during the regular season (this year or next, but not in the offseason) and only by the team that wins it in the lottery. (That is, if the Pirates trade their pick to the Cubs, for example, the Cubs can't trade it again.)
There are a ridiculous number of working parts here that don't necessarily add up to much. Bottom line: the Pirates have a decent shot at getting an extra pick after the first round next year, and if they don't, they have an excellent shot at getting one after the second round. They can trade their spare pick at the trading deadline if they want, and it'll be interesting to see if any team does that, because it will give us some insight into how teams value draft picks.
UPDATE: The Pirates have received the second pick in the lottery portion that follows the first compensation round. That basically means they get another pick after the first round, which will be their third pick next year. Next year's draft is going to be all kinds of fun.