Several notable players have surpassed the threshold for Super Two status, earning them an extra year of arbitration eligibility. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link), the following players have all gained a fourth arbitration year: Walker Buehler, Clint Frazier, Max Fried, Dominic Smith, Mike Soroka, Juan Soto, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, and Brandon Woodruff. Other players who should qualify include J.D. Davis (as Tim Britton of The Athletic notes via Twitter) and Austin Slater (as per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman).
The official Super Two cutoff point hasn’t yet been established. The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler reported that Miguel Andujar (who has two years and 117 days of service time) fell five days short of Super Two status, though Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals’ Wander Suero “missed it by just a few days,” and Suero has two years, 123 days of service time.
Of the players mentioned, Frazier has the least amount of service time, with two years and 133 days. For comparison’s sake, here are the Super Two cutoff points for the last 11 years….
- 2019: 2.115
- 2018: 2.134
- 2017: 2.123
- 2016: 2.131
- 2015: 2.130
- 2014: 2.133
- 2013: 2.122
- 2012: 2.140
- 2011: 2.146
- 2010: 2.122
- 2009: 2.139
As a refresher, all players become eligible for arbitration after they amass three full seasons of Major League service time. However, of the players who have between two and three seasons of service time, the top 22 percent of that group qualify as Super Twos, and thus they get become arbitration-eligible going into their third season, not after their third season.
Naturally, this means a lot of extra money in these players’ bank accounts, as they’ll get a significant raise on the minimum salary. For the players who have already posted some big numbers, the ability to not just get an extra arbitration year but to establish a high salary benchmark in that first year provides the opportunity to bank several extra millions of dollars in escalating salaries through their arb years. For instance, Soto has done nothing but mash at a Cooperstown level since joining the Nationals’ lineup, and is projected to earn between $4.5MM and $8.5MM in his first arb-eligible year. Assuming Soto keeps producing at anything close to his current rate, he seems like a solid bet to reach $20MM in average annual salary by his fourth year of arbitration eligibility.
This offseason’s arbitration class is unusual, of course, since the shortened season will throw off some of the normal methods for calculating arb salaries. In his annual arbitration projections for MLBTR, Matt Swartz provided three different methods (and often, three different projected salaries) for each player, depending on how arbiters view 2020 statistics.