Keith Law ranks the farm systems

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It’s that time again: the week when Keith Law releases his prospect rankings. His content this week — along with Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com’s rankings and a couple of other lists — truly helps form the basis of most fans’ understanding of prospects and the minors in general. Because let’s face it, we just don’t get to see those folks as much as they do.

Law kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.

The top system: the St. Louis Cardinals. The bottom: The Los Angeles Angels. The reasons and the rankings of everyone in between: you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription to find out.

Which, yes, I know, no one likes to pay for content. I don’t either. But I have found that Law’s annual prospects stuff — which I go back and reference dozens of times throughout the year — along with Buster Olney’s daily column/links post is worth the subscription if you’re a true baseball freak. So, if you have the means, definitely consider it.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.