Bryce Harper might be the most divisive player in baseball today. But here’s something that no one can debate: Bryce Harper is really good on opening day.
He showed it again Monday, as Harper crushed his fifth career opening-day homer. He hit an absolute rocket to right in the sixth inning off Miami Marlins reliever Davis Phelps. There was no drama off the bat. You know it was gone right away. And Harper was psyched. He touched home plate, jumped in the area and saluted the fans at Nationals Park. It was the Nats’ first run in their 4-2 comeback win over the Marlins.
What makes all this more impressive: Harper’s five home runs have come on five opening days. He hit two in 2013, another in 2015, went deep again in 2016 and now this. That’s not a bad opening-day legacy to carry — even if opening day 2014 is feeling a little left out.
After a disappointing season in 2016 (.243/.373/.441 with 24 homers), Harper was on fire in spring training. He hit eight homers, which was tied for the most in baseball. The question was whether he’d carry that over into the 2017 regular season. This is a very small sample size, of course, but it’s a good indication that Harper might be over whatever mystery ailment hindered him last season.
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