Some players with more than two and less than three years of service time go to arbitration, while others don't. Going to arbitration an extra time, the right earned by baseball's super two players, is a clear advantage; super twos earn more than others in their service class.
MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has learned that 19 players qualified for super two status this year. But what about the others, those who missed the cut by a couple of weeks or a couple of days? Here are the players who narrowly missed super two status in 2011 (I'm only counting those currently on the 40-man roster of an MLB team):
- Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks, 2.145
- Angel Sanchez, Astros, 2.144
- Darnell McDonald, Red Sox, 2.143
- Ramon Troncoso, Dodgers, 2.143
- Scott Mathieson, Philllies, 2.142
- Alfredo Simon, Orioles, 2.142
- Brian Burres, Pirates, 2.141
- Alejandro de Aza, White Sox, 2.139
- Chris Dickerson, Yankees, 2.138
- Tony Sipp, Indians, 2.138
- Kris Medlen, Braves, 2.137
- Adam Loewen, Blue Jays, 2.135
- Sean Rodriguez, Rays, 2.133
- Bobby Parnell, Mets, 2.132
- Matt Wieters, Orioles, 2.129
- Mitchell Boggs, Cardinals, 2.125
- Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks, 2.124
- Andrew McCutchen, Pirates, 2.123
- Matt Joyce, Rays, 2.123
- Gordon Beckham, White Sox, 2.123
- Tommy Hanson, Braves, 2.120
- Derek Holland, Rangers, 2.120
- Chris Coghlan, Marlins, 2.120
These players are now on track to go to arbitration three times and hit free agency after the 2015 season. However, many will be released and non-tendered over the course of the next four seasons.
Some players on this list bounced between the majors and the minors and just happen to have fallen short. Brian Burres, for example, has not been subject to service time manipulation. Others fell short for a reason. It's not a coincidence that McCutchen, Hanson and Beckham debuted within three days of one another in June, 2009. It's not a crime, either. Teams are operating within the collective bargaining agreement when they call players up strategically and service time is never the lone consideration for clubs.
Early in the 2009 season, before Wieters made his MLB debut, I explained why the Orioles might delay his callup until early June. "He won't accumulate more than 126 days service time. This would likely prevent him from becoming a Super Two and would likely save the Orioles millions of dollars in years ahead." As frustrating as it can be for fans to wait while MLB-ready prospects play in the minors, the Orioles weren't going to contend no matter what in 2009 and they are undoubtedly better off paying Wieters $500K than $3MM in 2012.