Keith Law’s organizational rankings are out

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As he does every year, Keith Law has released his organizational rankings. We’re talking farm systems here, not big clubs, as this will be followed up shortly — if form holds, tomorrow — by Keith’s Top 100 prospects list. Apologies, but both features are for ESPN Insider members only.  But really, these are two of the features that make getting an Insider subscription worthwhile. If you care a lick about player development, you’ll be going back to them over and over throughout the season.

As for the systems: the Royals are at the very top. Not surprising at all given how much we’ve heard lately about how loaded their system is.  The Rays are second, and will only be strengthened by an offseason that has given them a number of extra picks in this year’s draft.  Other notables include the Braves at number three, the Phillies fifth, the Yankees ninth, the Red Sox 11th, the Cubs 20th, the Giants 23rd, the Mets 26th and the Brewers dead last.

As is always the case with these sorts of lists, the narrative assessment of that which is ranked is more useful than the number ranking in and of itself, so if you are able, I recommend giving Keith’s piece a read.

Report: Steven Matz has been pitching through pain, may need elbow surgery

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Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.

Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.

According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.

Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.

Clayton Kershaw’s simulated game went so well he threw an extra inning

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Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.

Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.