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.

Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games

Gregorius will wear a mask
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Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games this year. That’s what the Phillies infielder tells the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“We are trying to go through the guidelines and trying to do everything we can do to stay safe, so, that’s why people see me walking around with a mask on and stuff. I am keeping myself safe, wearing a mask everywhere I go. So, I have to keep it on me all the time.”

Gregorius will wear a mask both while batting and out in the field, he said.

A big reason for it is that he has a chronic kidney condition which makes him “high risk” under Major League Baseball’s safety protocols. He could opt out if he wanted to but Gregorius, who signed a $14 million deal with the Phillies last winter, is a free agent again this coming offseason. He is coming off of a down year in 2019, having hit .238/.276/.441 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI across 344 plate appearances. Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018 and didn’t make his 2019 season debut until June 7. A big reason he took a one-year deal was to reestablish his value for next season’s go-around on the free agent market and he doesn’t want the long layoff going into what could be his last significant payday.

Major League Baseball is not requiring players or umpires to wear masks on the field during games or practices, though it is reportedly looking into clear face shields for home plate umpires to wear under their usual protective masks.

Gregorius will wear a mask to keep himself safe, he said, but he also notes in the article that “I think it adds safety for everybody, for me and people around me.” Here’s hoping, given his vulnerability, everyone around him is being as safe as he is.