Washington Nationals: 5 x-factors for Bryce Harper in 2018

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits a two run home run against the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning during game two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits a two run home run against the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning during game two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Batting order

Last April, we got a glimpse of the chaos Adam Eaton and Trea Turner can create at the top of the lineup. Unfortunately, Eaton suffered a season-ending injury in late-April, which drastically changed the dynamic of the Nats’ lineup.

Now, Eaton is ready to return. Dave Martinez has announced that Eaton will lead off, with Turner in the two-hole and Harper batting third.

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Between Eaton and Turner, two bonafide leadoff hitters, the Nats will often have at least one runner on the bases for Harper. Add in their base stealing abilities, and Harper will have endless RBI opportunities.

Eaton and Turner could be restricted when it comes to stealing bases, because then opposing pitchers can walk Harper with an open base, but Martinez believes that Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, and Daniel Murphy will provide adequate protection. If pitchers choose to take their chances with Rendon, Zimmerman, or Murphy, so be it.

Harper plated 26 runs last April, which was his most in any month. Part of this can be attributed to a hot start, but most of it is because of all the run-scoring opportunities created by Eaton and Turner.

With Eaton back in the lineup, we can expect another big year from Harper. He has yet to record a 100-RBI season, but 2018 could be the year.

Next: Jake Arrieta too expensive for Nats

2018 is set to be an enormous year for Harper and the Nats, but there is reason to believe that it can be a rewarding year for both parties. Grab a seat and some popcorn now; you’re not going to want to miss this.

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