On Thursday, the Cubs called up catching prospect Willson Contreras, while the Reds brought up lefty Cody Reed. Both will be making their Major League debuts. Coincidence? Perhaps not.
It's quite possible teams have figured out the season has passed the Super Two arbitration status threshold. That's a phrase often brought up this time of year, pertaining to the calling up of prospects and the arbitration process. But what exactly does it mean?
It's easy to get bogged down in dense Collective Bargaining Agreement details, but here is a brief explanation of the arbitration rule:
Players with at least three years, but fewer than six, of Major League service time, are eligible to file for arbitration. In addition, there are the so-called Super Two players. These are the top 17 percent of players, based on service time, with at least two but fewer than three years of service. The rule states that a player must have at least 86 days of service in the immediately preceding season to qualify for this status. Typically, the cutoff for the top 17 percent has been around two years, 130 days of total service, though the days fluctuate from year to year.
Could there be more prospects on the way now that this threshold seemingly has been passed? Many top prospects -- Julio Urias of the Dodgers, the Rays' Blake Snell, the Twins' Jose Berrios and more recently, Jameson Taillon of the Pirates and Tim Anderson of the White Sox, to name several -- have been brought up to debut in advance of that potential deadline. That's perhaps a sign that teams may not be overly concerned with Super Two status this year. With a new CBA looming and an unknown arbitration-related landscape ahead, perhaps teams are more willing to throw caution to the wind.
There are still some very talented prospects in the upper levels of the Minors who could be knocking on the door. Super Two status may not be the be-all, end-all, but it's possible it will help this group push that door open a little more easily.
Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals (No. 1 overall prospect): Perhaps this is a bit premature, given how carefully Giolito has been handled and that he's at the upper levels for the first time. But the right-hander has given up two or fewer earned runs in each of his past seven starts (1.48 ERA), including seven innings of scoreless ball with 12 strikeouts in his past outing.
Orlando Arcia, SS, Brewers (No. 4): He's been performing well on both sides of the ball as a 21-year-old in Triple-A, and he would bring some excitement to Milwaukee. Jonathan Villar's solid season in the big leagues is the only obstacle.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (No. 8): Pittsburgh clearly doesn't completely shy away from calling guys up early (Taillon), but as much as Pirates fans want to see Glasnow help out a scuffling pitching staff, he is walking 4.6 batters per nine innings.
Alex Bregman, SS/3B, Astros (No. 18): Yes, it's just his first full season as a pro. And yes, he's only in Double-A. But he's been flat-out raking. And as Jim Callis wrote in this week's Pipeline Inbox, he'd be an upgrade over the current third-base options in Houston. And yes, Bregman has played seven games at the hot corner this season.
A.J. Reed, 1B, Astros (No. 35): Given the first-base situation in Houston right now, had Reed been performing better in Triple-A, he might have already gotten the call. But though his .239/.336/.463 line doesn't jump off the page, he still could be an upgrade, even if he's initially only used as part of a platoon (he's slugging .511 against righties).