This seems to be a trend… for the second straight year, there was a consensus at the top of the list… then a free-for-all afterwards.
The two of the top three guys were each left off at least one ballot, while the number two guy was unanimously named, enabling him to garner the no. 2 spot without a single first-place vote.
A total of 24 players were named on 14 ballots, some of which had less than 10 names and/or an ineligible player. While I adjusted the points accordingly (e.g. #1 on a nine-player ballot = 9 pts vs. 10 pts. on a ten-player), it did not affect the rankings.
Without further ado, ze list:
1. Brian Goodwin
2. Matt Skole
3. Steve Souza
4. Billy Burns
5. Michael Taylor
6. Jeff Kobernus
7. Zach Walters
8. Drew Ward
9. Tony Renda
10. Adrian Nieto
Others receiving votes: Corey Brown, Eury Perez, Justin Bloxom, Randy Encarnacion, Narciso Mesa, Pedro Severino, Isaac Ballou, Brandon Miller, Cody Gunter, Rafael Bautista, Josh Johnson, Jose Marmolejos-Diaz, Bryan Mejia, Caleb Ramsey
• Goodwin received ten first-place votes, similar to how he was the near-consensus at #2 last year behind Anthony Rendon.
• This year’s #2 is a bit of a shock: Matt Skole was hurt all year long and struggled some in the Arizona Fall League, but moved up a spot from #3 to #2 nevertheless.
• Souza’s strong AFL campaign and addition to the 40-man roster seemed to stick out in many voter’s minds, vaulting him from an also-ran in 2012 to #3 with three first-place votes.
• Burns and Taylor nearly tied despite Taylor being left off two ballots, nearly closing the gap in points by receiving a pair of second-place votes (Burns’s highest was a third-place spot).
As it traditionally has, the list skews towards the upper minors; this year’s exception: Ward, who might have missed the cut — like Skole did in 2011 — were it not for the GCL Nationals’ championship run (likewise for his teammates that were in the “also-rans”). Still, I think a lot of this is simply the bias of familiarity, which also explains why a couple of players aged 27+ players received votes.
Next up: the pitchers, which is always contentious thanks to folks’ biases of starter vs. reliever, lefty vs. righty, fireballer vs. junkballer, floor wax or dessert topping, etc. Plus, with one less no-doubt pick (Robbie Ray), the last couple of spots ought to be closely contested.