Are you Waiting for Your Team’s June Prospect to Get Called Up? The Super-2 Rule is Holding it Up!

With the A’s sputtering over the last couple weeks, I’ve wondered why they haven’t called up their big hitting prospects Michael Taylor and Chris Carter to inject some power and life into the lineup, alas, I keep hearing wait until June. Same goes for fantasy enthusiasts wondering why the hell Strasburg isn’t called up to the MLB yet, since he’s been dominating the lower levels, and has looked ready since the first pitch he threw in AA ball. Maybe you’re wondering when your Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez is getting called to the show. The answer keeps being June. Why June? Simply put, money. I’m not buying the argument that the Nats are bringing Strasburg along slowly; it’s a big load of BS. What teams are truly concerned about, is their bottom line, and if these players make an impact and never go back down to the minors they will have to pay them. Teams don’t want their “top prospects” being good enough to earn the “Super 2” status. What is the difference between being a super 2 and a normal player you may wonder? The ESPN’s and MLBTV’s of the world have failed to clarify it for me, so I had to do a little research to find what it truly means, and now that we have a blog I figured I should clear it up for our readers as well.

These two guys will be called up at some point this year, and the A's are in desperate need for some powerful bats in the lineup!

The difference between a Super 2 pay scale and a normal rookie pay scale isn’t huge, and can be explained in one simple comparison. Adam Jones didn’t make Super-2 status this year and is making $465,000, because the Orioles waited to call him up. Carlos Gomez is a Super 2 and is getting paid $1.1 million this year, because he started his career on opening day whereas Jones did not. It might not be a huge difference right now in terms of a teams’ overall payroll, but that amount is a big deal when a player is up for their arbitration eligible years (Super-2 is eligible close to a year earlier), and their future salary increases (deemed by the players union and organizations). That difference of $650K will add up to a lot of money over time with their constant salary increases as their performance increases.

This is basically why Stephen Strasburg isn’t at the big league level yet, because the Nationals don’t want him to qualify for the early arbitration (Super-2) eligibility making him much more expensive sooner in his career. Remember two years ago when Ryan Howard got around $12M per year in his arbitration? It seemed like a ton of money, but at the same time he was well worth it. Same thing could happen for Jayson Heyward during his third season if he is what everyone thinks he will be. The difference between Heyward and Strasburg, is that since the Nats have decided to wait until June, they will get an extra year out of him before he qualifies for the “big money arbitration”. Supposedly Strasburg is going to be making his first start on June 4th.

2 for 2 in walk off chances, they made the right choice by starting him in the bigs this year!

So what is the Super-2? The Super-2 is designated for the top 1/6 (17%) of the players in their first two to three years of MLB service. Essentially the best players will be rewarded arbitration earlier than others that aren’t as important of a player. The cutoff for the Super-2 has ranged from 2.13 to 2.14, which means 2 years 130 days or 2 years 140 days of MLB service. There’s really no way to tell what the cutoff will be in 2012 when Heyward and Strasburg will be eligible, but holding Strasburg out for the first 61 days of the season this year will likely keep him out of Super-2 eligibility, thus the reason why he should be coming up around June 4th or 5th.

Let’s jump over to the Giants for a second. Their up and coming catcher that many in the Bay Area want to see called up, Buster Posey. He was in the league for 33 days last year. So if he is called up and they are trying to avoid the Super-2 status he wouldn’t be able to join the team until July. Is this wise? Maybe, the Giants could have held Lincy back instead of having him start his career in May of 2007, and would have saved them close to ten million or more over his arbitration years (2010-2013).

These are the tough decisions that teams need to make behind the closed doors. Is keeping a player down because he might be a Super-2 a bad idea? It’s assuming that once the player is called up he will never get sent back down to the minor leagues, but if they are that good, don’t you want them helping your team!?! Not caring about my teams financial status, I’d say bring them up!

Another risk is that what if the Nationals miscalculate with Strasburg and he winds up being a Super-2? Shouldn’t they have had him in the rotation all season? I will have a pretty good laugh if they end up missing the wild card by a game or two! Plus, he’d draw more fans in, and would gains some real experience. Striking out minor leaguers when he’s obviously ready, isn’t helping him develop in my opinion. In all honesty, before I go to any game I want to know who is pitching, and if Strasburg was on the mound, I’d probably be more likely to go.

I think that teams over analyze the rule, and should just call them up if it’s painfully obvious that they will be successful or the team desperately lacks in a certain area. I like how the Braves did it with Heyward, the Mets did it with Ike Davis, and the Cubs did it with Starlin Castro last week. If they are ready call them up, and see what they got!

About chappy81

I'm a dude that just hit 30 years old. Pretty much like everything that is funny, insightful, and has to do with the Warriors, A's, and Raiders. View all posts by chappy81

12 responses to “Are you Waiting for Your Team’s June Prospect to Get Called Up? The Super-2 Rule is Holding it Up!

  • mceezy

    Wow, thanks for breaking this down. I had a vague idea of what this was about, but never really knew the details. I like how you mentioned a hypothetical situation where the Nationals miss the Wild Card by a game or two. I don’t think that “pretty good laugh” is gonna happen. And I wanna see Carter and Taylor in Oakland as much as anybody, but they aren’t exactly lighting it up. They’re hitting .240 and .232, respectively.

  • tophatal


    Arbitration, arbitration, arbitration . No team wants to set that clock ticking unless it has to .

    Alan Parkins

  • tophatal


    Is it me but is Stern now simply handing out fines in the postseason because he’s p_ssed that LBJ didn’t make the Eastern Conference Finals ? Cuban whacked for $100,000 for an innocuous statement concerning James’ impending free agency status. Nothing said by the Mavs’ owner implied tampering or anything else for that matter.

    Alan Parkins 23 May 2010 10:35 am

  • tophatal


    If that’s the case then why doesn’t Stern simply go to Cuban and ask him to make a one off donation of $1 million ? That ought to cover any anticipated fines for the NBA season don’t you think ?

    Is it me but are Rashard Lewis and the Magic really that bad ?

    This series will definitely be over come Monday night !

    I Want To Go To Disneyland Bit_h …………….. !

    Alan Parkins

  • The Fantasy Geek

    Thanks for the explanation. Even The Geek gets confused about this one. Last season, the Braves blew it by keeping Tommy Hanson in the minors until June. They could’ve made a run at the wild card.

    I like the new template!

    • chappy81

      Haha, I’m glad I could inform you! Baseball has more rules than golf somehow! That’s a really good point about Hanson, I completely forgot about that, maybe that’s why they are let Heyward play all season this year!

      Nice! We needed to change it up, and make some changes to make it feel like it is OUR site instead of WP!

  • classic17

    I’m a few days behind (story of my life) but I think Mike Leake is the perfect example this year. Where would the Reds be without him? They’re 6-3 in games he started and hold a 1 game lead in the Central. The Nats sit 3 games out in the East…think Strasburg could have made up that difference? It’s early yet, but it’s worth noting.

    • chappy81

      That’s a solid example! Sorry I haven’t been commenting on your blog, I just don’t know much about soccer, so I don’t really have anything to say! 🙂

  • Taking A Look At The MLB Waiver Period « Doin Work

    […] when teams have to declare their playoff eligible players. So, just like I broke down the Super 2 rule that keeps some teams from calling up their top prospects. Now, I will loosely use Manny as an example of how this waiver crap […]

  • Dave

    Nice blog. Question though. “The Super-2 is designated for the top 1/6 (17%)” – if there is already a 17% of players designated as Super 2 is this declared every year? Who does the ranking? Is it ever published? Does a player know he has made the Super 2 rank?


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