This article is part of our The Long Game series.
The Long Game: Springer Forward
Back in the good old days of, say, five years ago, when you added a prospect to your minor league roster or reserve list, you pretty much knew what you were in for. If you were lucky, opportunity would knock some fine spring training or other and you'd get a full season of production from the kid right out of the gate. (Jason Heyward and Jose Fernandez owners, you can stop grinning now). If you didn't fall into that bonanza though, you were probably stuck waiting for the first third of the season to tick by before your prized pup got his shot, regardless of how well he was doing in the minors. The unspoken reason for that, of course, was financial. Delaying the start of a player's major league service clock meant avoiding the dreaded Super Two status, and allowed a team to buy themselves an extra year before they had to start going to arbitration with a burgeoning star, and thus saving themselves some short-term millions.
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