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Grant Desme's retirement opens up a spot on the 2010 Top 50 hitters list. Desme was 47.

I had narrowed the 51st spot to seven candidates but never made a decision, since there didn't seem to be a need to do so, so I just had a list of "guys in the 51-57 spots."  With Desme gone, I need to make a decision now. Here are the candidates.

David Espinosa, SS, Nationals
Tyler Flowers, C, White Sox
Brett Jackson, OF, Cubs
Thomas Neal, OF, Giants
Ben Revere, OF, Twins
Tony Sanchez, C, Pirates
Scott Sizemore, 2B, Tigers

I'm not taking a vote, but I figured you'd like to know who the candidates were.

I decided that Flowers is the guy to go with. I love Flowers' bat, and he's closer to the majors than the other power guys, and it sounds like he can stay at catcher. Sizemore is the other "close to the majors" guy, and if he gets to play this year he could be a Rookie of the Year candidate. His ultimate upside is less than some of the others.

Revere was under consideration due to his speed. Jackson has the best toolset in the group, but i'm still worried about his contact rates against better pitching. Neal had the great season in A-ball and looked good in Arizona, but I'd like to see some Double-A numbers. Sanchez looks solid to me but again I'd like to see some Double-A numbers. Espinosa is often overlooked and as a shortstop with a solid bat he has extra positional value, but again there are no higher-level numbers to look at.

See how it's all a balancing act? It comes down to a matter of philosophy. If I went with pure tools, I'd go with Jackson, but my lists try to balance tools, skills, long-term outlook, short-term opportunity, fantasy interest, real-world interest, and position.