Bryce Harper is in desperate need of a bounce back year. After being the National League MVP in 2015, he struggled throughout last season, falling from the superstar ranks in baseball. Opening Day was the perfect opportunity for the Washington Nationals outfielder to start out the 2017 season on the right foot. He did so on Monday afternoon, smacking a home run in the sixth inning.

Strong Opening Day

Harper stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins without a base hit yet for the year. He changed that with one incredibly smooth swing of the bat. With David Phelps in for relief of Edinson Volquez, a perfect pitch was served up for the Nationals outfielder to crush deep beyond the outfield walls, cutting the Opening Day deficit to 2-1.

The hit went on to be the only one for Harper on Opening Day. He also walked once and struck out once. Adam Lind proved to be the team's true hero, hitting a two-run homer off Phelps to put the Nationals up for good. Washington went on to defeat Miami 4-2, starting a season filled with World Series promise on a positive note.

Seeking redemption

Harper has actually made it a habit to start the season on a positive beat. His five Opening Day home runs are the most by someone under the age of 25 in the history of the MLB. Many of the feats he is accomplishing in his career are already the best for players as young as he is now. It's easy to forget his youth when people observe his struggles on the field and his antics off of it.

The outfielder struggled all season as people adjusted to his skills, either finding a new way to approach the batter or intentionally walking him, which only frustrated him further. He seems to be in a better place this season, though. During the offseason, he got married. Harper had a great spring training, where he made his swing look as effortless as ever.

If Opening Day is indication of a baseball player who feels much more at ease this season, pitchers better begin to watch out once more.

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