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Bryce Harper picked up right where he left off, as the 23-year-old superstar has homered in four straight games already in this young 2016 season. The reigning National League MVP didn't see the Nationals win on Sunday, but it wasn't his doing given this shot to right center that gave him his sixth dinger of the year. Harper is now batting .359/.458/.897, which translates to a 250 OPS+ in the early going. Harper led the league with a 195 mark in 2015, and that was the second-greatest OPS+ of any 22-year-old in history, behind only Ted Williams' 1941 -- the one where he hit .406.
Now, expecting Harper to keep up at that pace is a little much, but it wouldn't exactly be surprising if he led the NL (and MLB as a whole) in homers and OPS+ and basically anything else you can think of. He's not the defender Mike Trout is, and that's part of what makes Trout special and keeps him number one in the game in the minds of basically everyone. Trout isn't the hitter Harper is, though, and it's what keeps the two of them on a clear level above everyone else in the game.
Before 2015, all we had was the belief that Harper would eventually break out and become the star he was projected to be. The 2015 season gave us a glimpse of what Harper looked like at his best. The 2016 season looks to have the goal of either confirming 2015 as Harper's level of play, or trumping it. Either way, it's going to be exciting to watch.
- Harper is not only crushing the ball, but he's also making good on his word to make baseball fun again: After Harper used 100 emoji decals on the knob of his bat, MLB decided to make bat decals legal once more.
- The Pirates wore throwback uniforms on Sunday, so the Pirates' announcing crew put on their best Anchorman-esque gear to do their job.
- Our own Seth Rosenthal wishes to be eaten alive by the Phillies' weird iguana mascot.
- Speaking of weird Phillies' mascots, let Michael Baumann explain the Phillie Phanatic's birthday to you.
- Cameron Maybin was injured during his first at bat of the spring when he was hit on the wrist by a pitch, and he was removed from a rehab assignment game on Sunday for being struck on the same wrist.
- The Pirates signed Justin Masterson, and to test the limits of their abilities as career resuscitators, they plan on making him rotation-worthy.
- Adam Wainwright had another rough outing. How soon is too soon to panic about the Cardinals' ace?
- Yankees' president Randy Levine thinks you're an idiot, and also that the Yankees built Yankee Stadium without any help from taxpayers.