Recently the Cardinals and Pirates have been getting some fault for not promoting their top prospects.
The Pirates have young Gregory Polanco, who looks to be MLB ready. The Cardinals have Oscar Taveras who also looks to be MLB ready, and is a top three Cardinal outfielder with Bourjos’ struggles. They’re both waiting in the minors, and on competitive team and they both look like they have a good chance of adding the spark that maybe a Yasiel Puig did last year for the Dodgers, a team that was 24-32 on the day of his debut finished the season 68-38.
Polanco and Taveras wouldn’t even have to be MVP caliber players to make a good impact. Yet they sit in the minors. Now it’s understandable when a team maybe gives an extra year of seasoning to a prospect when they are not going to contend, or if the prospect doesn’t seem ready, but these guys seem ready and are on teams that have a chance, the main thing holding them back is the fact they could be deemed Super Two players. A super two player is a guy who basically gets an extra year of arbitration eligibility, so if Polanco and Taveras really are studs in the majors they could cost their teams millions of dollars.
Personally I think this strategy is really dumb on the teams, especially teams like the Pirates and Cardinals, because if given a choice of paying a few extra million for playing better and likely a better shot at the World Series, I think most teams should choose the World Series. Polanco could help turn around the Pirates fortunes and give them a star-studded outfield with Marte, McCutchen, and Polanco, and the Cardinals have Matt Holliday and Allen Craig but Oscar Taveras is a lot better than Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos at this point in time. So they deserve call-ups, but probably won’t get them for at least another month so they avoid being Super Twos.
If I were the GM of a contending ballclub I wouldn’t give a second thought to calling up an outfielder who has nothing left to prove in AAA and is a top rated prospect. The main goal is to win and right now the Pirates are 13-20 and in need of a boost. Polanco is hitting is flirting with a, 400 average in AAA, and has shown how talented he is. If I were the owner of the Pirates, there’d be a lot of pressure on my GM and manager to get this club going and an obvious option that works more times than not, is sitting right in front of me, I would be putting on the pressure to call him up. Super Two status would be the least of my worries, even if I owned a small market team. Taveras would be a tougher call right now, because he isn’t mashing like Polanco, but doing a respectable job in AAA, but if he was one of my 3 best outfielders, it’d make the most sense to bring him up. Both these guys should have pretty amazing careers no matter what if they can keep on track though, and I really like Polanco as a player. I just think holding someone down so they avoid being a Super Two is downright silly.