Bryce Harper Rewarded for Hot Start, Hitting 3rd in Washington Nationals Lineup

Michael NargiSenior Analyst IApril 4, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals talks to the media before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Nationals Park on May 1, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

After the best game of his young career on Wednesday night, "The Phenom" is creeping up in the Washington Nationals lineup.

In fact, Bryce Harper is moving all the way up to the No. 3 spot against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night.

The Washington Times' Amanda Comak tweeted the information on Thursday afternoon:

Full #nats & #Dbacks lineups as Bryce Harper hits third for what probably won't be the last time in his MLB career:

— Amanda Comak (@acomak) May 3, 2012

Harper, who has hit in the seventh spot through his first four games, will make the jump in the lineup to hit in front of Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth.

Nats manager Davey Johnson is not wasting time with his 19-year-old gem, as he rewards him for a hot start in which Harper has gone 5-for-13 with three doubles, two runs and two RBI.

Harper's speed and hustle make him a valuable piece of the order no matter where he is placed. 

It will be interesting to see how pitchers pitch to Harper now. The game plan should be to tempt him with less-familiar off-speed pitches, but with LaRoche and Werth providing protection, pitchers might be forced to give him more fastballs to put in play. 

It is a bold move by Johnson, but one that might pay off with huge dividends. Harper has handled the copious amounts of pressure with ease thus far, and the lineup change will be handled with no less poise and confidence.