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Warning: Harper's Body Issue cover will make you blush

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Warning: Harper's Body Issue cover will make you blush

Bryce Harper took his clothes off for ESPN Magazine's Body Issue. You probably knew that already, or at least comprehended intellectually that was happening. But were you really prepared for what that would look like? 

Harper's Body Issue cover came out today. 

Goodness gracious. It's like that? I didn't know it was like that. Did you?

Holding a baseball in front of a red backdrop, the Nationals star is dressed in some dirt and hair gel. Ok, mostly hair gel. 

There's something about his expression -- a kind of steely-serious eye contact beneath furrowed brows -- that borders sultry. Even unnerving for those who remember him as a Mormon kid called up to the big leagues at age 19. 

In case there was any doubt, a suggestive crop well south of the slugger's hips drives home the point. 

Baseball has a new stud. 

Bryce's traps would like to alert you that the future is now. Yesterday's potential is today's 1.173 OPS and 5.5 WAR -- both tops in the MLB. 

ESPN's photographers deserve credit as some of the best in their business, too (and for watching D'Angelo's "Untitled" video a thousand times, but I digress). 

Instead of leaning on baseball uniforms and props (note the ball is practically hidden in Harper's hands), the image leverages lighting, color, pose and "wardrobe" to convey virility. It's a visual metaphor for coming of age that's universal rather than exclusive to the MLB. 

The Body Issue brings together elite physiques and photography. Portraits like Harper's are what makes it great. 

MORE NATIONALS: Nats sign 1st significant Latin prospect in years

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.