Name: Bryce Harper
Notable 2011 Stats: .318/.423/.554 with 17 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, 61/44 K/BB, and 19-for-24 SB in 72 games with Hagerstown (A);
.256/.329/.395 with 7 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 26/15 K/BB, and 7-for-9 SB in 37 games with Harrisburg (AA);
.297/.392/.501 with 24 2B, 2 3B, 17 HR, 87/59 K/BB, and 26-for-33 SB in 109 games total
Why He’s This High: Harper is often thought of as the best prospect in the game, and it’s easy to see why. He has light-tower power and a solid approach at the plate, and he’s lauded for his ability to make adjustments–he went from basically the worst hitter in the Arizona Fall League to the best in the span of a couple of weeks. He had no trouble with the South Atlantic League as an 18-year-old and even held his own in Double-A–Wil Myers put up a similar Double-A statline and ranked 16th on this list, and he’s two years older.
Harper also boasts a huge arm and good speed in right field, and his athleticism translates to the basepaths. His offensive ceiling is truly massive, and while he doesn’t play a premium defensive position, he should be above-average in right field.
Why He’s This Low: As time goes on, I’m more and more coming around to the idea that Harper is actually #1, but I haven’t changed any other rankings on this list (some of which I regret far more), and am not making an exception for this either. Still, as I said in discussing Matt Moore yesterday, the top four are all very close.
The question with Harper is how well-rounded of a player he is going to be. He doesn’t play a premium defensive position and will probably slow down some as he ages. The power, walks, and arm will be there, but is he a .300 hitter? Does he retain his speed? How refined is his fielding going to be? The two players above him on this list have more balanced profiles.
Conclusions: One year into his career, Harper looks as good as advertised. As with any young player, there’s still some things that need to be tightened up, but the sky is the limit, and it’s not hard to see him as the game’s preeminent power hitter and right fielder for much of the late 2010s and early 2020s.
Check out all of the Seedlings To Stars 2012 Top 100 Prospects here!
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