Legends On Deck

MLB 2022 Home Run Derby – Who Will Win?

 

The MLB 2022 Home Run Derby will take place on Monday, July 18th at 8 pm ET, at Dodgers stadium.

Reigning 2-time champion Pete Alonso, of the New York Mets, will look to add another victory to his trophy shelf, which would make him the first player to win three in a row. Can he do it?

Here are the Contestants:

Kyle Schwarber v Albert Pujols

Philadelphia Phillies Of Kyle Schwarber returns to the HR Derby for the first time since 2018 when he represented the Chicago Cubs and lost to then Phillies OF Bryce Harper in the finals by one home run, 19-18. Entering the weekend of games before the All Star break, Schwarber is just two home runs off the MLB lead with 28 dingers. In his last 15 games, he has hit seven home runs and 12 in his last 30 games. The Phillies outfielder is on pace to surpass his career high of 38 home runs that he amassed in 2019 with the Chicago Cubs.

St. Louis Cardinals Legend Albert Pujols returns to the Home Run Derby for the first time since 2015.  This will also be his fifth appearance in the derby as he participated in 2003, 2007, 2009, 2015 and now in 2022. In his first three appearances, the Legend competed as Cardinal, and placed runner-up to Garret Anderson of the Anaheim Angels in 2003. He finished in 4th place in 2007 and 2009. In 2015, as a member of the Los Angeles Angels, Pujols made it to the semi-finals, but lost to the Dodgers Joc Pederson 12-11. The future Hall of Famer currently has six home runs on the season, but has amassed 685 in his career, as he sits in fourth place, just 11 behind Alex Rodriguez who has 696 for his career. With this being Pujols final season in the majors, can he grab a little magic and run away with a victory? Would be a great tribute to his storybook career.

 

Juan Soto v Jose Ramirez

Washington Nationals OF Juan Soto returns to the home run derby for a second straight year.  In 2021, he defeated Shohei Ohtani in an epic first round as both power hitters hit a combined 59 home runs, which required two tie-breakers. Soto lost to the eventual winner, Pete Alonso in the semis. Soto has hits 117 home runs in his five year MLB career and this year he already has 19 home runs entering the weekend.

The Cleveland Guardians 3B Jose Ramirez is making his debut in the 2022 HR Derby. Ramirez has been in the league since 2013, has been selected to three prior all stars and even though he has put up big numbers in the home run category, this will be the first time he will showcase his skills at a derby. Over his career he has amassed 180 home runs and this year he has 17 through 85 games.

 

Pete Alonso v Ronald Acuna Jr.

New York Mets 1B Pete Alonso returns as the reigning 2-time champ of the HR Derby as he looks to become the first contestant in major league history to win three in a row. Only Ken Griffey Jr. has won three, but only won two years in a row. Entering the this weekend, Alonso has 24 home runs, tied for 5th in the majors with Mike Trout. For his career, Alonso has 130 home runs and is on pace to blow past his 2021 total of 34 home runs. He has a chance at making a run at his career high of 53 homes runs that he put up in his unbelievable rookie season in 2019.

Atlanta Braves CF Ronald Acuna Jr first appeared in a home run derby in 2019 and was beat by Alonso in the semi-finals.  After sitting out the 2021 because of suffering a torn ACL last July, Acuna now faces Alonso in a rematch but this time in the first round, with the hopes of knocking off the reigning champ. In his five year career, he has amassed 113 home runs, with a high of 41 in the 2019 season. He has eight so far this season, but that’s after starting the season late due to an injury. There is a lot on the line between the Mets and Braves in the standings as both clubs are poised for a second half run to the Division crown. And in a fun event, this battle will be just as intense.

 

Corey Seager v Julio Rodriguez

Texas Rangers SS Corey Seager returns to the HR Derby for the first time since the 2016 event where he battled with Mark Trumbo in the first round, but came up short. In eight seasons, Seager has hit 125 home runs, and this season he has 21 and is on pace to surpass his all time high of 26 in 2016. He is scorching hot with the bat as he has five home runs in his last seven games.

Seattle Mariners rookie phenom CF Julio Rodriguez has 15 home runs over his last nearly two and a half months after not hitting one in the month of April. But as soon as the calendar changed to May 1, he hit six in May, seven in June and two so far in July. The rookie sensation will look to put on a show for all of the baseball world to see and showcase the skills that Mariners fans have been enjoying the first half of the season.

Who Will Win?

Looking at the group above, I would love to see Albert Pujols walk into the sunset in his last season in the MLB by finally getting the elusive HR Derby crown. With younger batters in the lineup, is that even possible? Maybe not, but it would be an amazing story line.

Looking at the 1st round match-ups, I will give the nod to Pujols to get out of the first round out of feeling nostalgic, Jose Ramirez will topple Juan Soto, Alonso(who is destined to be in the finals) will blast past Acuna Jr, and I will give Rodriguez the win to make it a bit more exciting.

In the second round, Pujols may have something left in the tank to best Ramirez and Alonso will show Rookie Rodriguez how its done.

The Finals will showcase the Legend v the Present, with Alonso outlasting a late surge by Pujols to become the first person in MLB history to win back-to-back-to-back HR Derby’s.

Who do you pick? Share in the comments and lets see who ends up as the champion.

 

 

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