The 2022 MLB All-Star Week is starting to take shape. One of the most anticipated events in baseball, the Home Run Derby, will take place on Monday, July 18th at 7 pm CT at Dodger Stadium. The Home Run Derby will feature eight sluggers by Monday, but, at this point, only five have confirmed that they will compete in the Derby.
The first to announce that he will be participating in this year’s Home Run Derby was Pete Alonso of the New York Mets. Alonso has won the past two Home Run Derby titles, making him just the third player ever to go back-to-back in the contest. He will now have his sights set on a third Derby win in a row, a feat no other player has accomplished. Alonso has hit 131 home runs in his two Derby appearances and set a single-round record in 2021 when he hit 35 homers in his first-round matchup.
The next guy to announce that he would be competing in the Home Run Derby this year was Ronald Acuna Jr. Acuna plays for the Atlanta Braves and will be making his second appearance in the Home Run Derby. He was ousted by Pete Alonso in the second round of the 2019 Derby. The Braves star still made a very strong first impression, utilizing the entire field to hammer 44 home runs in his two rounds. Ten of his homers traveled at least 450 feet and even hit a 470-foot blast. Acuna leads the Majors in average home run distance this year, so we can be sure to see some absolute moonshots from Ronald Acuna Jr. in this year’s Derby.
Albert Pujols of the St Louis Cardinals was next to announce that he would be competing in the Home Run Derby this year. Pujols has not been in the Derby in seven years, but with 2022 being his last season in the Majors, 42-year-old Pujols decided to return to the stage one last time. This will be his fifth appearance in the Derby, which puts him on an elite list of only six other players who have competed at least five times. At number five all-time on the home run list with 684 total, Pujols sure knows how to hit them deep.
Juan Soto will be making his second straight Derby appearance this year after putting on a great show in his debut last year. Although he entered the Derby as the last seed and the underdog last year, Soto defeated the top-seeded Shohei Ohtani in an epic battle that took a swing-off to decide. The Nationals slugger is set to flash his generational power in the Derby once again. Last year, he hit a record-setting 520-foot shot in Colorado.
The fifth and final confirmed Home Run Derby contestant will be Kyle Schwarber of the Philadelphia Phillies. Schwarber is leading the National League in home runs at 28. He will be making his second Home Run Derby appearance this year. In his first Derby, Schwarber was with the Chicago Cubs and made it to the finals of the 2018 event. Schwarber launched 55 homers on the night before eventually being taken down by his future Philadelphia teammate, Bryce Harper.
The Home Run Derby this year will surely be an exciting one. There are already five sluggers with a ton of juice set to participate in the event. There are still three spots to fill for the Derby, but with the five competitors already set to compete, this year’s Derby is truly built to be a special one. Will Pete Alonso win his third title in a row, or will he finally be dethroned by one of the seven other home run hitters?