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Scott Van Slyke 2016 salary arbitration preview

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Van Slyke has been a valuable part of the Dodgers' bench in the last two seasons, and is now eligible for salary arbitration for the first time.

With two years, 151 days of major league service time, Van Slyke qualifies as a Super Two, like Chris Hatcher, in the top 22 percent among those with at least two but not quite three years of service. That earns Van Slyke potentially four years of arbitration, beginning in 2016.

Here is a look at outfielders comparable to Van Slyke in the last three offseasons.

Comparable Super Two outfielders (career)
Infielder Years Svc Time PA BA/OBP/SLG OPS+ wOBA wRC+ rWAR fWAR Salary
Scott Van Slyke
2012-2015 2.151 708 .253/.337/.442 118 .341 120 4.4 4.5 tbd
Collin Cowgill 2011-2014 2.151 671 .242/.306/.339 84 .290 85 3.9 2.4 $995,000
Alex Presley 2010-2014 2.162 1.092 .259/.299/.395 93 .304 91 1.1 1.4 $1,000,000
Mike Baxter 2010-2013 2.129 415 .229/.335/.348 93 .305 95 0.7 0.7 $700,000
Andy Dirks 2011-2013 2.139 1,063 .276/.332/.413 101 .326 103 4.2 3.6 $1,625,000
Brandon Moss 2007-2012 2.160 1,045 .251/.317/.442 102 .328 101 1.0 2.7 $1,600,000
Gregor Blanco 2008-2012 2.164 1,289 .253/.349/.331 88 .310 91 4.0 4.4 $1,350,000
Sam Fuld 2008-2012 2.140 608 .246/.328/.350 88 .305 90 2.8 2.5 $725,000

Dirks has the highest salary of the bunch, but that was also because he was coming off a launch season playing regularly, with 484 plate appearances, nearly double that of Van Slyke in 2015 (253). Yet Van Slyke's career numbers at their Super Two stage compare favorably to Dirks, so that bodes well for Van Slyke.

The same goes for Blanco, who had 453 plate appearances in his launch year in 2012, but with career numbers similar to Van Slyke, the latter better on a rate basis.

Moss didn't do much in his launch year, but earned $1.6 million in his first year of arbitration. Dirks and Moss are the only above-average hitters of the group, but both have roughly 300 PA more than Van Slyke, the best hitter of this sample.

2016 guess

Van Slyke was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to have a $1.2 million salary in 2016, roughly 75 percent of the Dirks/Moss standard.

I think Van Slyke can get closer to Blanco's salary, given their similarities in WAR at the same point in their careers, with Blanco's value more tilted to defense. I'll guess $1.3 million for Van Slyke in 2016.

These arbitration studies are made much easier thanks to Baseball-Reference, Cot's Baseball Contracts, MLB Trade Rumors and FanGraphs.