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Looking At The Early Results Of The Prospect Promotion Incentive – MLB Trade Rumors

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MLB Trade Rumors
By | April 9, 2022 at 2:40pm CDT
In recent years, a major source of contention between MLB teams and players has been service time manipulation. In baseball, each day spent on the active roster is counted towards a player’s service time. The Major League Baseball season is typically 186 days long and a “full year” of service time is defined as 172 days. A player kept in the minors for a few weeks to start the season cannot accrue a full year of service time, thus delaying his free agency by an extra year. The most egregious and frequently cited example of this is Kris Bryant. Despite being considered one of the best, if not the very best, prospects in baseball, he wasn’t called up to start the 2015 season. That year, he spent 171 days on the roster, falling exactly one day short of a full year, which allowed the Cubs to control him through the 2021 season, instead of 2020.
Bryant was just one of many examples around the league, with service time manipulation becoming one of many issues that had eroded the trust between the league and the players, making the most recent lockout so prolonged and contentious. In an attempt to improve the situation going forward, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement features a provision that will potentially reward teams for promoting prospects for the full year. Under the Prospect Promotion Incentive, teams can earn an extra pick in the draft if a rookie-eligible player with 60 days or fewer of major league service who is included on a preseason top 100 prospect list by two or more of Baseball America, ESPN.com or MLB.com is promoted and finishes high in award voting in any year before he is eligible for arbitration. A Rookie of the Year win or a top three finish in MVP or Cy Young voting in his pre-arbitration seasons would net the team that extra draft pick. If the international draft is implemented, he could earn the club a selection if second or third in Rookie of the Year, or fourth or fifth in Cy Young. A team can gain at most one PPI pick in the amateur draft and three total PPI picks for any individual prospect, two international and one amateur, with a max of one such pick per year. (Further details about the incentive are laid out by Evan Drellich of The Athletic.)
This year, it has certainly felt like more top prospects were cracking Opening Day rosters, with Bobby Witt Jr., Julio Rodriguez and Spencer Torkelson being some of the high profile examples. Matt Eddy of Baseball America took a look at the data from this year and compared it to previous years to see if any meaningful conclusions could be drawn. Ten of BA’s top 100 prospects made Opening Day rosters this year, which is the second-largest such number in their data set, which goes back to 1990. (The piece points out that Riley Greene could have made it 11 if he hadn’t got injured, and the same could possibly be said of Adley Rutschman as well.) The only year with a larger crop was 1995, where 12 guys made the cut. As pointed out in the piece, the 1995 season followed the extended layoff of the strike that began in August of 1994. Presumably, that would have delayed the debut of any prospect that was on the cusp of debuting in August or September of ’94 until the start of the ’95 season, artificially inflating that number. Therefore, it can be argued that this year’s group of rookies is the largest in the past 33 years.
Of course, this is just a single year of data and it would be unwise to draw far-reaching conclusions from it. However, another reason for optimism in the piece is that the trend in recent years had been for fewer prospects to crack the Opening Day rosters. Eddy breaks the recent past into five year buckets and looks at how many top prospects played in the first week of a season. From 1995-99, there were 35, followed by 26 in 2000-2004, then 22 in 2005-2009, 16 in 2010-2014 and just 14 from 2015-2019. “The number of qualifying prospects has declined by 60% in the past 20 years,” Eddy says. Now there are ten in just this year alone, eleven if we add in Roansy Contreras, who was recalled today after Duane Underwood Jr. was injured in the team’s first game. (The Pirates, incidentally, were the one team who appeared to still be trying to play the service time manipulation game, with both Contreras and Oneil Cruz being left off the team’s Opening Day roster, despite both getting brief MLB experience last year.)
It’s worth reiterating that this is just a single year of data and it can’t be hastily assumed that the new CBA has improved the situation. It’s entirely possible that this was just an incredibly strong class of prospects that would have bucked the trend with or without the changes to the CBA. However, it’s at least encouraging for those fans that want the best baseball players to be playing in the majors as soon as they are deserving that the trend has indeed been bucked for this year.
Collective Bargaining Agreement
DarkSide830
23 hours ago
I just hope the PA knew what they were doing and that players getting promoted quicker doesnt harm them. I’m sure most would argue these players are ready, but a fea skipped AA or played little in AAA. sometimes that doesn’t matter, but not all players are the same.
freeland1787
20 hours ago
Top prospects that pan out will bank a lot of money
DarkSide830
20 hours ago
and mishandling them can lose you a lot of potential revenue.
bigjonliljon
23 hours ago
Boo Hoo!!!
I’m so sick of the players or there union, or the journalists crying about this topic.
The service time rules were collectively bargained into the CBA with the players union. They agreed to it. Signed it. Now they want to cry because the teams used it to there advantage? It’s there own fault for not seeing it coming when they agreed to it. Or they just didn’t care since the union does not represent the players in the minor leagues, whom this effects.
Stop. Drop it.
And stop calling it manipulating and start calling it for what it is. The teams following the rules as they were agreed to. Legally collectively bargained
Boo Hoo
coolhandneil
23 hours ago
Triggered!
fljay73
23 hours ago
Just because you agree to something in one CBA doesn’t mean it cant be adjusted or changed in future CBAs.
bigjonliljon
22 hours ago
That’s true. Change it, yes. But stop crying about in the mean time.
myaccount2
23 hours ago
That’s why the rule has been changed. Not sure why you’re so upset.
Cat Mando
22 hours ago
“I’m so sick of ” people who don’t know the difference between there and their (not to mention they’re).
Kayrall
20 hours ago
How dare teams follow the contract agreed to by both sides!
jbigz12
23 hours ago
I’m personally surprised it made a difference for teams that aren’t likely to be in contention. If I were running the Royals there’s no way I’m putting Witt on the opening day roster. an extra year of a potential stud is worth way more than 2 weeks + a comp pick. But the Royals have been known to do odd things.
Same deal w Tork after the Riley Greene injury but the Tigers have some sort of hope of contention(very unlikely to me) this year, I suppose.
thelegendaryharambe
20 hours ago
If Witt is top 2 (I believe) in the ROY balloting he gets a full year of service time no matter what.
Anyway, the Royals didn’t do service time manipulation even before the new rules so I’m not sure what you were expecting.
bobtillman
22 hours ago
The Royals put Witt on the roster because of his talent. Please, you or anyone else has no idea what’s going to be happening 3 years (arbitration) or six years (Free Agency) from now with Witt. No idea whatsoever. He could flop (possible), become meh (most likely outcome), become an All Star (very possible) or become a generational talent (certainly not impossible).
RIGHT NOW, he’s one of the 28 best players in their system. He therefore belongs on the MLB Active roster.
It’s the players themselves who are responsible for service time manipulation. They had every opportunity to change the parameters; switching the service time goalpost to placement on the 40-man; would have prevented any manipulation, and is perfectly fair.. But they didn’t, They didn’t do anything.
DarkSide830
22 hours ago
let’s be real, the dude is hitting in the Majors at 21 and jumped from rookie ball to AA. you think the Royals think he’ll not be worth having in seven years?
jakec77
22 hours ago
So, if understand it correctly, for the team to get the benefit, the player needs to be in the top 3 of ROY voting this year, or top 5 in MVP or CY Young in the next three?
So, if I’m the team and it’s July or August and any of those players are clearly not positioned to be top 3 in ROY voting, I am sending them down for a couple of weeks. Hoping for a top 5 Cy Young or MVP finishing the next two years is such a long shot, they are far better off with another year of control.
Which just means the service time manipulation is getting pushed later into the season, when it is even more blatant and aggravating.
Plus- where one finishes in award voting is not really the greatest measure of accomplishment. Two identical players having identical seasons, one in the AL and one in the NL could end up finishing in very different positions in award voting for a host of reasons. Particularly when it comes to MVP where the voters aren’t even in complete agreement as to what they are voting on.
stymeedone
17 hours ago
As no team has done that “blatant” manipulation, why do you think they will have 2nd thoughts later in the season?
flamingbagofpoop
20 hours ago
Bryant was brought up when he was because Olt got hurt, but that doesn’t support the narrative, so we’ll just leave that out.
kcmark
18 hours ago
And the Royals would most likely be 0-2 instead of 2-0 if not for Bobby Witt Jr.
JoeBrady
7 mins ago
He has one hit in two games, with a .375 OPS. Imagine what their record would be if he had, for example, two hits?
stymeedone
17 hours ago
I disagree that the rule change had anything to do with the players starting their careers at the beginning of the season. Its more the teams doing, as these teams have a history of not playing service time games. No team, that considers themselves still rebuilding, called up an impact rookie to start the year. Where rookies were called up, those teams, for right or wrong, consider their rebuild over. If any rule had an effect, its the extra playoff teams. With more teams qualifying, every game takes on added importance. While this number of rookies is large, its not a record, and within the range that occurred under previous rules. Lets not make any judgement on one spring.
brewpackbuckbadg
16 hours ago
I know this would be a crappy move but after the team got the extra pick for the ROY award couldn’t they send him down at the start of next year for two weeks to get back the extra year?
Yes it would be crappy but if you were the Pirates and you “knew” you were extremely unlikely to compete next year then it seems somewhat reasonable.
brewpackbuckbadg
16 hours ago
If they are sent down over all star week does it count as one of the two weeks?
If so, why not send every young stud down in that week each of the first two and/or three weeks assuming you are playing the crappy service time game.
Lanidrac
13 hours ago
At that point, you would need to send him down for nearly 4 weeks to get the extra year back, which isn’t worth it for most teams.
A team with no chance to compete that year could still try it if they were willing to put up with the PR backlash, though.
Lanidrac
13 hours ago
Does that study count non-top prospects who nevertheless became young stars anyway like Albert Pujols?
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