Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper Goes Yard Twice on Opening Day

Andrew Rocco@@Andy_RoccoContributor IApril 1, 2013

Harper taking in the ovation following his second homer on Opening Day.
Harper taking in the ovation following his second homer on Opening Day.Rob Carr/Getty Images

As if his torrid streak during spring training wasn't enough of an indicator of what Bryce Harper might do this season, he just homered in his first two at-bats on Opening Day.

Harper, clearly doing his best to prove he will not be off to a cold start or a sophomore slump, took Miami Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco deep twice. This will certainly go down as one of the better starts to a season for any 20-year-old player in history.

The buzz for Harper's extremely impressive start has already hit the social media world:

FACT: Bryce Harper (At 20 years, 167 days old) is youngest Major Leaguer to homer twice in his team's opening game of the season.

MLB (@MLB) April 1, 2013

With a year of big league (and postseason) experience under his belt, Harper will look to become a focal point of Washington's offense heading into 2013, making an immediate impact already Monday against the Marlins.

He will be driven like no other to improve, and that drive could easily result in a monstrous sophomore campaign. He is the type of player that has the rare drive at his age to work on the areas of improvement that are necessary to avoid the dreaded "sophomore slump."

Manager Davey Johnson went on record regarding Harper's readiness to bat third, stating, "He's a tough out, he doesn't swing at bad pitches and he uses the whole field. ... He can flat out hit."

With high expectations already resting on the highly publicized rising star, Harper will need to continue to develop in his second season for the Nationals to have continued success and to make a World Series run.

Ahead of his second season in the majors, Harper has high hopes. He approached spring training with the same fiery drive that he's been known for during the regular season.

Harper has also hit left-handed pitching better—a point of weakness at times last season. He isn't wildly chasing pitches out of the strike zone, and he's dominated opposing pitchers throughout the Grapefruit League.

If this continues—and he consistently gets on base, hustles and produces in the middle of the
Nationals lineup—the sky is the limit for Harper in 2013. 

Despite Harper's impressive start, he still remains modest and aware that he must continue to develop, which will be a crucial factor towards his individual success this season.