Super Two and the Impact on Gerrit Cole and Gregory Polanco

MLBTR released the projected Super Two cutoff following the 2014 season. Super Two status is awarded to players with more than two, but less than three years of service time. Only the players with the top 22% of service time in that group are Super Two eligible. Any player who is Super Two eligible gets their third league minimum year replaced with an extra year of arbitration. This gives a Super Two player two years of league minimum pay, and four years of arbitration, rather than the usual three and three. The extra year of arbitration can be costly, especially to impact players, which is why teams try to avoid Super Two status.

According to MLBTR, the projected Super Two cutoff is two years and 128 days, which reads as 2.128. This means that anyone with 2.128 years of service time at the end of the 2014 season, but less than three years of service time, would be eligible for arbitration.

Currently the Pirates have no players projected for Super Two status following the 2014 season. But the big focus for Super Two and the Pirates comes with their top prospects.

First, there’s Gerrit Cole, who was called up in the middle of last June, and projects to remain in the majors for good. Cole finished last season with 111 days of service time. If he remains in the majors all year this year, and all year in 2015, he would end the 2015 season with 2.111 years of service time.

We don’t know what the Super Two cutoff will be after the 2015 season. However, the lowest that the cutoff has been in recent years was 2.122 years, which happened in 2013 and 2010. It seems that Cole is safe with his projected 2.111 years of service after the 2015 season.

There’s also the issue of when to call up Gregory Polanco. If we use the 2.122 date as a cutoff for future Super Two years, then teams would be able to start calling their top prospects up on May 31st. That would give those prospects 121 days of service time at the end of the 2014 season, and a projected 2.121 at the end of the 2016 season.

But teams like to play it safe, and call players up a few weeks after the normal Super Two “deadlines” pass. If a team was aiming to call up a player and give them similar service time to what Cole received last year (111 days), then the call up date would be June 10th.

I’m guessing that the Pirates will want to avoid Super Two status with Polanco. That means he probably won’t be in the majors until it’s safe to call him up and avoid Super Two status. As today is April 11th, we’re probably almost exactly two months away from Polanco’s debut in the majors, assuming the Pirates avoid Super Two time with their top prospect.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • https://profiles.google.com/117072260031604417798 PikeBishop65

    Hypothetical:
    June 10, 2014: The Pirates are two games out of first place, and well above .500. Travis Snider apparently has figured it out and he has 11 homers and 41 RBI. His OPS is 810. Tabata has filled in nicely in his backup role, pinch hitting and is raking the left-handed starters he sees.
    Do you still bring up Polanco?

    • S Brooks

      Please let that bridge be there when we come to it.

    • leoefrank

      Use Polanco to replace the bum currently playing CF?!?

      • leoefrank

        Oh god just heard the news from the Brewers game. I didn’t mean this. I didn’t mean this. I didn’t mean this!

    • smurph

      Good (though unlikely) hypothetical, Pike. At all times NH should be on the phone, looking to solve the 1B issue. The better Snider/Tabata play, the easier it is to get a deal done. So this is good news.

      • stickyweb

        Lambo will be up by then with his own .827 OPS and 7 HRs and 29 RBIs so 1B will be solved. Just keeping up Pike’s use of completely random but very specific stats (unless he extrapolated Snider’s current #s through exactly June 10th, in which case I apologize profusely and applaud heartily).

        • https://profiles.google.com/117072260031604417798 PikeBishop65

          Apology accepted (lol). I extrapolated a bit, and bumped the RBI a bit, as he will probably see better pitches when Cutch starts becoming Cutch in a few weeks.

    • absolute59

      yes. He is a plus defender. Snider can be a super sub 4th outfielder. Think Mike Easler, John Milner etc.

    • HuntTheHumans

      Travis Snider does not have or even had those numbers at all this year.

  • emjayinTN

    Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, Polanco will be up on June 26 when the Pirates begin a 10 game homestand. If we are nearing the panic button, I think the Pirates have a 3 game homestand with the Reds starting June 16 and afterward they go to Chicago and then TB before coming home for the 10 game homestand.

    • leowalter

      Stick with that emjay ! You have been holding that hand for a loooong time.

  • letsgopitt123

    If you plan on resigning/extending your young talent before they get to arbitration (Marte & Cutch). Then what does it matter if Polanco comes up now versus in two months…

    • SportOMania

      Because if he is a super two it gives him more leverage in negotiations driving the price of his extension up.

  • absolute59

    Yes you bring up Polanco because he is a plus defender.

    Snider becomes a super sub 4th OF. Think Easler, John Milner etc.

  • csnumber23

    Wait til September, ahhh no!!!! Why would you ever wait until September when he is tearing up AAA