The Home Run Derby will take place on Monday, July 18, in Los Angeles, with eight sluggers competing to take home the 2022 title, $1 million in prize money, and endless bragging rights.
Falling on the first day of the All-Star break, the Derby allows fans to briefly look away from baseball standings and World Series odds to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned slugging. Over the last week, the participants were revealed individually, with the final lineup confirmed Thursday night on ESPN’s bracket selection show.
So who will take out the competition this year? With two Derby wins already under his belt, could reigning champion Alonso get his three-Pete? Let’s check out the sluggers.
Pete Alonso, New York Mets
Having won two consecutive Home Run Derbies in 2019 and 2021 (the event was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19), Alonso confirmed on Monday that he is returning in 2022 to compete at Dodger Stadium. Should he take out the competition again, he will become the first slugger to win three consecutive Derbies and only the second player after Ken Griffey Jr. to win it three times in a career.
In his two previous Home Run Derby appearances combined, Alonso smashed 131 home runs, including 35 in his 2021 first-round matchup, which set a single-round record. So far, he has hit 24 home runs in the season, the longest traveling 447 feet.
Rocking the mustache for Keith Hernandez's jersey retirement, Pete Alonso goes DEEP. pic.twitter.com/pn6WsF8r1h
— MLB (@MLB) July 9, 2022
Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves
This is Acuña Jr.’s second appearance at the Home Run Derby. In 2019, he was eliminated in the second round by eventual winner Pete Alonso. Acuña Jr put up a good fight, despite not coming out on top — he hit 19 home runs in his semifinal round before Alonso smashed 20 to advance. So far this season, Acuña Jr. has hit eight home runs, the longest flying an incredible 464 feet.
Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies outfielder has hit the most home runs this season of all the 2022 Derby participants, with an impressive 28. This will be Schwarber’s second appearance at the event, having made the finals in 2018 after clubbing 55 homers.
Pete Alonso should be worried — Schwarber’s consistency at the 2018 Derby, along with his high homer count this season, makes him an early favorite to take out the competition this year.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) July 5, 2022
Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Recently chosen as the Commissioner’s special selection to the National League All-Star Team, Pujols will return to the Home Run Derby for the fifth appearance of his career. At 42 years old, this is Pujols’ 22nd and final MLB season. Pujols has hit six homers so far this season, the longest traveling 426 feet.
Despite having smashed an impressive 684 home runs in his storied career, he will enter this year’s Derby tied with 2005’s Ivan Rodriguez for the fewest homers hit by a participant in the season. Regardless, I’m sure Pujols isn’t too worried — 684 homers definitely feels like enough experience to make a few waves.
Corey Seager, Texas Rangers
Although it wasn’t official until Thursday night, Seager will be making his second Home Run Derby appearance this year at Dodger Stadium, his former home field. Recently homering in five straight games, Seager has gone yard 21 times this season, with his longest hit traveling 435 feet.
Homers in 4 straight games! Corey Seager is on FIRE! pic.twitter.com/W6eLkY3nHL
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 12, 2022
Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners
A rookie who debuted in the majors on April 8, Rodríguez announced his participation in the Derby Wednesday afternoon. In his short time in the big leagues, he has already become the fastest player to 15 home runs and 20 career steals in MLB history. Could he add a Derby title to his list of achievements? Rodríguez’s longest homer this season flew an impressive 450 feet, so power-hitting definitely isn’t too much of a struggle for him.
Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
Soto is currently riding a 16-game hit streak, with four homers in his last seven games — the man’s bat is hot right now. He has hit 19 home runs this season, the longest flying 451 feet. This is Soto’s second year in a row participating in the Home Run Derby, and if his recent hitting streak is anything to go by, he’s coming in as a serious competitor.
.@JuanSoto25_ appreciation post.
He hit 2 homers on the day and 4 in his last 5 games! pic.twitter.com/85nO12qvj4
— MLB (@MLB) July 14, 2022
José Ramírez, Cleveland Guardians
This will be Ramírez’s first Home Run Derby, but that doesn’t mean he’s not ready to compete. In 2022, the third baseman has gone deep 17 times, with his longest homer traveling 422 feet. He may not be known for his power hitting, but even though 11 of his home runs this season have been under 400 feet, it’s clear Ramírez knows how to knock it out of the park.
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