Bryce Harper Keeping Expectations Sky High With Fast Start In Washington Nationals' Spring

By Thom Tsang
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The ongoing legend of Bryce Harper is alive and well.

Well, as much as it can be after three Spring Training games, anyway. No longer a teenager trying to make the bigs as one of, maybe the most-hyped prospect in the last generation, the Washington Nationals sophomore has a little less attention being paid to him these days.

That might change quickly if he continues to do what he has done at the plate.

Harper has hit in all three of the National’s Grapefruit League games thus far, but it was Tuesday’s exhibition match against the the Atlanta Braves where he really came out to play. Against the National’s biggest rivals in 2013, the 20-year-old hit two doubles in a 3-for-3 day, scoring a pair of runs in 9-5 losing effort.

The Nationals’ outfielder now has hits in each of his last five at bats and is currently tied for first in the league with six hits.

Yes, it goes without saying that these accomplishments are largely inconsequential in the big picture because of the small sample size but, when considering that Harper is still one year younger than fellow super-sophomore Mike Trout and that he’s already well on his way to eclipsing his hits totals from the last Spring, you can begin to see why each little achievement of his is a little more scrutinized than that of the usual veteran’s.

It is, after all, uncharted territory. Baseball hasn’t ever seen a teenager come in and do what Harper has done (even Trout struggled in his first go at the majors), and understandably, there is going to be excitement about what he can do at age 20.

For now, it’s just three games worth of non-consequential at-bats. That said, it’s three games that continue to perpetuate the idea that this is a player who can set new heights at the game as a 20-year old.

That would have seemed nearly impossible after Trout had what might have been the best rookie season ever, but if Harper can continue his spring run at this kind of torrid pace, he might have a chance to knock that down from an impossibility to a remote possibility yet by the time the 2013 season starts.

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