HOUSTON -- Everyone wants to know when George Springer -- the Astros' No. 3 prospect, as ranked by MLB.com -- will be called up this season to make his Major League debut. That will be based largely on the performance by Springer and the Astros' current right-field platoon, but there are certainly other factors the club will have to weigh.
First and foremost is Springer's arbitration clock. The top 22 percent of players with at least two years but fewer than three years of Major League service time are eligible for arbitration if they have accumulated at least 86 days of service time during the immediately preceding season.
Players who qualify for Super Two status would get an extra year of arbitration eligibility -- four instead of three -- and could cost their team millions of dollars. The exact date when a player could be called up and not quality for Super Two status won't be known until season's end, but it's usually in late May or early June. If teams want to play it safe, they would call up a player in late June and not risk having him quality for an extra year of arbitration.
Meanwhile, players who are called up within the first 11 days of the regular season would be under club control one year less than players called up afterward. There are 183 days in a Major League season, and a player can only accrue 172 days of Major League service time, so once a player is in the Minors for 12 days, he doesn't flip over to the next year's service time.