ESPN.com’s Keith Law rates Padres as top farm system

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Keith Law published his annual farm system rankings over at ESPN.com and has the Padres in the top spot, noting that “there are so many prospects here with high floors, players who would be top-10 or top-five in other systems but are 11-20 here.”

After the Padres at No. 1 he has the Rays, Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Royals filling out the top five.

His rankings are behind the ESPN.com paywall, so you’ll have to pony up to read them and his team-by-team analysis in full, but Law also has the White Sox dead last and says Chicago “is not particularly close to No. 29, either.” And that’s after general manager Ken Williams did a mini-rebuild by trading away Sergio Santos and Carlos Quentin.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.

Ervin Santana gets Opening Day nod from Twins again

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Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.

The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.

Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.