Super 2 almost assuredly is no longer an obstacle keeping top prospect Amed Rosario at Triple-A Las Vegas. And with Sandy Alderson reportedly headed to watch Rosario this week at Salt Lake City, that seems a signal we're getting closer to the time when Rosario makes his major league debut.
Rosario has reached base safely in 21 straight games and is hitting .346 with five homers and 39 RBI in 228 at-bats in the Pacific Coast League.
One evaluator said Monday that the shortstop is ready defensively, but still needs to be more patient at the plate. Still, the insider projected that Rosario will be an impact player in the majors, while cautioning not to view the 21-year-old as a savior this season.
The Mets have no shortage of players on the left side of the infield, with Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores. But while Flores has flourished of late against right-handed as well as left-handed pitching, the other two infielders have struggled. Reyes is hitting only .190. And Cabrera is hitting a modest .243 with three homers and 17 RBI.
Cabrera also has committed eight errors and has a -1.9 defensive WAR. Only Atlanta's Dansby Swanson has more errors among NL shortstops. The entire infield in general has been poor for the Mets this season, which has been exposed with the starting pitchers striking out fewer batters than previous seasons.
Teams do not publicly acknowledge it as a motivation. But MLB executives frequently delay calling up high-end prospects until after the Super 2 deadline.
The timing of when a prospect is promoted during a season does not affect when that player reaches free agency, since you need to be a major leaguer for six full seasons before that occurs. But calling up a prospect too early in a season can result in the player getting arbitration a year early and having four years of escalating salaries rather than three years before hitting free agency.
You may recall, out of necessity, the Mets promoted Noah Syndergaard for his MLB debut on May 12, 2015 -- after Dillon Gee landed on the disabled list. The decision will cost the Mets millions beginning next winter. Had the club waited an extra month, Syndergaard still would have been eligible for free agency after the 2021 season. But he would have missed the Super 2 cutoff and instead made close to the MLB minimum again in 2018.
Because of his early promotion back in 2015, Syndergaard's MLB service time will stand at 2 years, 149 days after this season. And that means he will be among the top 22 percent of players with two-plus years of service time -- the primary criteria for being eligible for Super 2.
And that brings us to Rosario.
It just so happens that Alderson told season ticket holders on Sunday, per Newsday, that he will watch Rosario play with Las Vegas this week. And it just so happens that we've almost assuredly crossed the Super 2 threshold. Any prospects called up the remainder of this season should avoid Super 2 status after the 2019 season and have to wait until after the 2020 season for arbitration eligibility.
If Rosario were called up Tuesday in Texas (the site of Reyes' debut back in 2003, by the way) and never returned to the minors, he would have 2 years, 118 days of service time at the end of the 2019 season. Barring a historic shift, that avoids becoming a Super 2.
Since 2009, the least service time to be eligible for Super 2 status was 2 years, 122 days.
Adam Rubin (Facebook | Twitter | Contact) has covered the Mets since 2002. He previously worked for the Daily News and ESPN. He also serves as assistant athletic director for strategic communications at NYIT. He is a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the University of Pennsylvania.