We're getting to the "depth" of the system now, where a lot of guys really are lumped close together and it'll be a beauty is in the eye of the beholder type situation, IMO, so I'll be curious how these vote totals play out compared to some of the earlier votes (granted, a few guys in the top 11 came in lower for me). But
1. Arismendy Alcantara - I've been beating this horse for a few picks now. I've said it here and other places - I don't necessarily "buy" Alcantara in terms of, I'm going to the bank with this guy as a bet for becoming a good major leaguer. But ... 2013 will be his age 21 season. A 21 year old shortstop, entering AA, coming off a good season offensively in A+ is an intriguing asset. He doesn't strike out a ton, although I'll be curious how his approach holds up in AA. I'm really not sure Christian Villanueva's offensive tools are that much better than Alcantara's. Everyone looks at Alcantara's power, or lack thereof in Peoria, but well, a lot of people struggle in MWL, particularly kids. There are shortstop tools. I know a poster has questioned whether he will outgrow shortstop. I just don't know if I see it based on raw body-point analysis (bad weight is a separate factor and something that I could not guess on). If he doesn't outgrow short, the tools for the position are there right now, and it would be a question of whether or not he could be more consistent.
2. Matt Szczur - The fact that he's "raw" to baseball shouldn't mean anything much anymore. He's had multiple professional seasons, and at a certain age, well, age is age, and he'll turn 24 next year. Thus, I can understand the concerns on him. A 23-24 year old CF who struggled in his first go-around in AA and hasn't shown much power isn't going to make anyone jump for excitement. That said, I don't buy yet that his ability to make contact was exposed in AA. It's interesting to see that it seemed like he was trying to lift the ball a bit more in AA. There's raw power there, but what he needs to do is strike a balance. At his best, he's taking advantage of his quickness and speed combination, slapping the ball around and getting on base, while occasionally driving one to keep pitchers honest. Can he fix his swing to achieve this? I don't know, but the way I look at it is, if I don't buy that his contact ability was exposed, then the dramatically improved discipline/approach still him a potentially good 4th/5th OF with speed/defense who can start in certain situations or when he has a hot year. If he fixes his swing to the point that he's getting on base and driving the ball a bit more, then the potential to be a solid starter is there. For now, that gets the edge over raw talent in the next two slots.
I'm still tossing over the next two in some fashion, but
3a. Duane Underwood - Others have a legitimate argument of Underwood to be much higher. The case can be made that his pitching ceiling is the highest in the entire system, and even though we're talking a pitcher, that potential could be enough justification to put him much higher. I'd just like to see him polish things up and show some consistency before I jump too high for him.
3b. Marco Hernandez - Since only 3 votes can be made, I went Underwood for now. What's somewhat lost in Marco's season is that almost all the positive comments about his tools were shown this year. He's not considered a threat to outgrow short. He has excellent bat speed. Marco looks to have a solid arm for short, and he shows the ability to drive the ball and could potentially be that 10-15 HR's hitter some have noted. The range, speed, and movement at short is fine, and he has the ability to be a solid base-runner. There's a lot to like, but the discipline was the most troubling aspect. That said ... the K rate dropped and the BB rate increased as he spent more time in Peoria and Boise. So he was making adjustments, and once the approach improved at both spots, the offense came around. It's almost forgotten that when he was demoted, he was showing a lot of positive signs in Peoria. I'm curious to see what his GB rate is like in Peoria next year, as it was noticeably lower than it was in Boise this past year. He won't hit 21 until late in 2013, so he's age appropriate. There aren't that many shortstop talents in the entire minors with his level of all-around potential.
The next three would probably be Candelario, Amaya, and maybe Lake for me. Marco's position and Duane's ceiling is enough of an edge on those two for me, for now. I love Candelario's offensive ceiling, but there's a lot of projection there, and with the expectation that he might move to first eventually (granted, being on the same development level as Vogelbach will likely keep him at 3rd, or maybe move him to the OF), he needs to mash and I want to see that materialize. There's a lot to like about Amaya, but the offense is really going to have to carry him. It could, so he could deserve to much higher, and his ceiling as a potentially offensive minded 2nd baseman that can get on base and has some pop is arguably more fascinating than a lot of other options that are at 2nd, or could end up there. I actually wonder if his power is being a bit under-sold this offseason, by a tiny smidgen. Still ... Marco's on the same level, shows offensive potential that's close to Amaya's (Gioskar should hit for a better average if he develops), and is a shortstop. That gets the edge for now. Lake's a tough one to place for me. I think he could see the bigs next year. He's only 23 next year. If he ever put it together, he could be a monster offensive player. I'm just not sure how much I buy him putting it together, and I wonder how the approach holds as he faces smarter pitchers that don't try to simply blow it by you.
I really like Loux, and have always acknowledged my fascination with Wells, but health is too big a concern for me, for now, to push them ahead of the positional guys.