Uber prospect Bryce Harper seems to be the consensus #1 pick in minor league drafts this year with Brandon Belt likely to follow him off the board. While Harper brings all the media hype surrounding him Belt built some hype of his own in 2010. In 592 PA between High-A and AAA Belt hit. 352 with 23 HR, 22 SB and 93/99 BB/K. Harper has the higher ceiling but Belt could make a case to go ahead of Harper
Find out why after the jump...
Belt has shown a better feel for the strike zone than Harper and this eye is what makes him a possibility to see time in San Fransisco this year. His primary position is 1B but he can also play the corner outfield positions further increasing the possibility of a call-up. Players with an advanced eye like Belt's are a good bet to perform from the get-go in the majors as evidenced by Jason Heyward and Buster Posey. Harper's tendency to whiff could mean it takes some time to get his feet under him when he arrives. To me Heyward is a good comp for Belt in that they are both power hitters with excellent eyes and a touch of speed while Harper is similar in skill to Mike Stanton. Belt may be a step below Heyward talent-wise but depending on how much higher you think of Heyward over Stanton and what you think of my comparisons could bring some perspective to the Belt/Harper debate. They're not perfect comps but they do shed some light on the situation.
For those looking to minimize risk with their minor league draft Belt is the better choice as he's closer to the majors and has shown he should have a solid future ahead of him. Harper on the other hand has prodigious power and the youth to gain on Belt in the few aspects that he trails him. Harper remains the top choice but Belt could pay off for a team hoping for production sooner rather than later.