After a disappointing-by-his-standards 2016 season, Bryce Harper has come out mashing in 2017.
The 24-year-old former MVP entered Wednesday hitting .354/.475/.688 with four home runs, including a towering walk-off Monday.
Well facing Julio Teheran and the Braves on Wednesday, Harper added to his huge 2017 stat line, whacking two dingers in the first two innings, including a grand slam.
— MLB (@MLB) April 20, 2017
Harper’s two bombs are confirmation that he absolutely loves facing Julio Teheran. Against most hitters, the Braves’ righty is an All-Star. Against Harper, he’s entirely helpless.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) April 20, 2017
Based on #math, Harper would hit 112 HR in a season if he only faced Teheran and got 608 plate appearances, which is standard for a year.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) April 20, 2017
Harper’s hot start is a beautiful sight for the Nationals. No one quite knew what to expect from the outfielder this season given that he struggled last year amid unverified reports that he was suffering from a shoulder injury. It was very fair to wonder if the “real” Harper was the once we saw in 2015 or the one was saw in 2016. The fact that he’s raking so far in 2017 suggests it could be the former.
Of course, just because Harper is having a great April doesn’t mean he’s due for another MVP year. Last year, he hit .328/.430/.844 over the first 19 games of the season, then just .231/.365/.382 the rest of the way.
But Harper’s hitting has the Nationals off to a hot start, and if he has more nights like Wednesday, Washington could win a whole lot of games.