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.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”