The Los Angeles Dodgers were not represented in the 2022 Home Run Derby finalists, but did have ties to two players as Albert Pujols and Corey Seager both agreed to participate.
Pujols and Seager making their respective returns to Dodger Stadium did not end in triumph, however, as Washington Nationals All-Star Juan Soto won this year’s Derby. That ended Pete Alonso’s reign and prevented him from becoming the first player in MLB history to win the Home Run Derby three consecutive years.
Monday’s event was the first Derby without a representative from the host team since the Kansas City Royals staged All-Star festivities in 2012. Prior to Seager getting added to the field, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he believed Pujols would have the support of fans.
Batters were given three minutes to take their swings, and could earn an additional 60 seconds if hitting four home runs that traveled at least 440 feet. The championship round was two minutes.
Home Run Derby first round
No. 3 Corey Seager vs. No. 6 Julio Rodríguez
Julio Rodríguez was the first rookie to participate in a Derby since 2019, and he did not disappoint. After getting off to a slow start, Rodríguez hit 14 home runs before calling a timeout. He had already earned bonus time and finished with 32.
Corey Seager certainly had experience at Dodger Stadium, but that didn’t lend to success. Seager managed just 10 homers before calling timeout, and finished with 20 during regulation. He too earned bonus time, though only added four more to bring his total to 24.
No. 2 Pete Alonso vs. No. 7 Ronald Acuña Jr.
Going up against two-time defending Home Run Derby champion, Ronald Acuña Jr. hit just nine home runs before calling a timeout. He slugged that many coming out of the brief break and after bonus time finished with 19 for his first-round total.
With Acuña hitting first, Pete Alonso had the benefit of pacing himself rather than needing a prolific showing out of the gate. Alonso hit 10 before calling a timeout, and reached 17 in regulation time.
The additional 60 seconds of swings was more than enough opportunity to reach 20 home runs in order to eliminate Acuña.
No. 4 Juan Soto vs. No. 5 José Ramírez
José Ramírez hit four before calling timeout, then slugged 11 more. Ramírez only managed to earn 30 seconds of bonus time and finished with 16.
Juan Soto eased into hitting 10 home runs before asking for a timeout. He sputtered a bit coming out of the break but wound up reaching 18 homers in regulation time.
No. 1 Kyle Schwarber vs. No. 8 Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols had the Dodger Stadium crowd’s support and pulled off a stunning upset against this season’s MLB home run leader. Pujols hit one home run before calling for time, and went on to finish with 13.
That made for a relatively easy bar to beat, but Kyle Schwarber could only tie Pujols’ mark. That led to a one-minute swing off that didn’t allow for any breaks.
Pujols added seven more to his total and narrowly edged Schwarber, 20 to 19.
Home Run Derby semifinals
No. 2 Pete Alonso vs. No. 6 Julio Rodríguez
Rodríguez initially failed to replicate his same pace from the first round as he hit seven home runs before taking a timeout. The rookie went on to find his rhythm and put pressure on Alonso with 31 home runs.
Rodríguez became the first player with two rounds of at least 30 home runs in a single Derby.
Alonso hit six home runs prior to his timeout and reached 18 in regulation. That left Alonso facing too much of a deficit to overcome in 60 seconds of bonus time, as he felt short with 23 total home runs.
No. 4 Juan Soto vs. No. 8 Albert Pujols
Pujols started the second round with six home runs in 1 minute and 14 seconds. His total got to 15, which Soto slowly but surely eclipsed.
Home Run Derby final round
No. 4 Juan Soto vs. No. 6 Julio Rodríguez
Rodríguez again got off to a slow start but was unable to hit a late hot streak and got up to 18 home runs, far fewer than showings in each of the first two rounds.
Soto had a lackluster showing to begin his final round but got into a groove and won the title during bonus time.
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