Bryce Harper’s underrated day: Three at-bats, three homers

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“Bryce Harper is overrated” has always been a very silly stance to take and it looks particularly silly today because the 22-year-old Nationals right fielder has hit a home run in each of his first three at-bats against the Marlins.

Harper is now hitting .268 with .419 on-base percentage and .567 slugging percentage on the season, including seven home runs and a league-leading 26 walks. He won’t be 23 years old until mid-October and is currently the fourth-youngest player in the National League.

He’s also the third-youngest player in National League history to hit three home runs in a game–trailing only Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews and Mel Ott–and the youngest player in either league to homer three times in a game since 1969.

And here’s a list of all the players since 1985 with at least 1,500 plate appearances and an adjusted OPS+ of at least 120 through age 22:

Bryce Harper
Mike Trout
Miguel Cabrera
Alex Rodriguez
Ken Griffey Jr.

UPDATE: Harper failed to homer in his fourth at-bat, settling for an RBI ground out. What a bum.

First homer:

Second homer:

Third homer:

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.