It’s time for the 2022 All-Star Home Run Derby! Some of the biggest names in sports are in Hollywood, targeting the Dodger Stadium bleachers.
Heading into the derby is the back-to-back derby champion Pete Alonso. How do the rest of the contestants stack up for the home run king? Can someone take the belt away from the Mets slugger known as the “Polar Bear”?
It’s your one-stop shop for all things Home Run Derby. Live updates from round results to pre-Derby predictions and ESPN MLB experts Alden Gonzalez, Buster Olney, Jeff Passan and David Schoenfield.
Let the fun begin!
See: T-Mobile Home Run Derby on ESPN (8 p.m. ET)
MLB All-Star Home Run Derby Bracket
(7) Ronald Acuna Jr vs. (2) Pete Alonso
Julio Rodriguez (32 home runs) beats Corey Seager (24 home runs).
Pete Alonso (21 home runs) beat Ronald Acuna Jr. (19 home runs)
Three Pete is living the dream
One thing about Alonso in the home run derby: He never panics. Midway through his round he was in trouble, struggling to find the right launch angle and instead hitting liners that fell off the warning track. But he found his swing and got past Acuna Jr. with just 30 seconds left in his bonus round. It’s not a dominant round, but the dream for three beats lives on.
Seattle appreciates J-Rod
With the win over Seager, Rodriguez became the first Mariner to advance to the semifinals of the Derby since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998. Guess who’s on site today: The Kid himself. Griffey’s advice: “Let Julio be Julio.”
Rodriguez is hot out of the gate
New nerves? Not for Julio Rodriguez. The 21-year-old phenom put together one of the most impressive rounds in Home Run Derby history, finishing with 32 home runs. He started hitting a series of high fly balls that skimmed over the fence, turned into some low screeching liners that cleared the fence, and then started hitting a few that destroyed the entire Tang Stadium.
Juniors see good content. pic.twitter.com/qgGGrfFYEH
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 19, 2022
We’re together, but the message has been sent: Julio is coming for your crown, Pete Alonso.
The 2022 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby kicked off in Los Angeles with Mariners phenom Julio Rodriguez.
Who will win the home run derby and who will they beat in the finals?
Gonzalez: Soto isn’t happy about being thrust into trade rumors right before the All-Star break, and this is the perfect place to take out his anger on the game’s best pure hitter. Sotto is so hot this month that he will beat Pete Alonso in the finals. He would do so by smashing opposing field homers.
Olney: Soto would go head-to-head with Alonso and it would be more like Ali-Frazier, with Soto rarely edging the defending champion.
Pass: Alonso, of course. He is the most accomplished home run hitter on the planet. He knows how to win the Derby, seeing as he did the last two times. His toughest test may come in the first round against Acuna, but they faced each other in 2019 and the polar bear came out on top. He would do so again this year, upending NL East foe Soto in the finals.
Schoenfeld: It’s the Year of the Marines! Rodriguez has been on fire, and he’s not lacking in confidence. He’s going to hit low lasers in the left-center bleachers, and like Alonso in 2019, he’s going to win it as a rookie — beating Alonso in the semifinals and Schwarber in the final.
Who will hit the longest home run of the night and how far?
Gonzalez: Acuna is averaging 437 feet per home run this season, longest in the majors. Dating back to his rookie year in 2018, he has hit 13 home runs of 450 feet or more. CJ Gran — even though he missed significant time with a torn ACL. Three years ago, Acuna stayed and produced in all fields A beautiful splash chart, but he lost to Alonso in the second round. If he decides to be happy this year, he’ll empty Dodger Stadium a few times. One can even reach 510 feet.
Olney: Alonso would hit a 512-foot homer, reviving the conversation about the juiced ball.
Pass: Soto’s amazing power is so free, so easy, that one takes it for granted. In an event like the Home Run Derby, the number of home runs is more important than distance when it comes to winning the event, but not hearts and minds. We like to see tanks. We like to see balls that don’t stop flying. We want to see Soto hit a ball 515 feet, and we will.
Schoenfeld: Only five home runs have been hit from Dodger Stadium during a single game — two by Willie Starkel and one each by Mark McGwire and Mike Piazza. Giancarlo Stanton. The longest of them is Starkell’s at 506 feet. We’re not just going to see a few fly out of the ballpark during the tournament, we’re going to see a couple longer than 506. And the longest: Schwarber is about to crack a 522-foot home run.
Albert Pujols takes part in his final home run derby tonight, what are your predictions for the 42-year-old?
Gonzalez: I shocked everyone by beating Schwarber, the NL home run leader, in the first round. Never underestimate the pride and competitiveness of Pujols. He wasn’t Albert Pujols because his bat speed wasn’t fast enough to match the cartoonish speeds of today’s game; It has nothing to do with his original power. He knows the event, having competed in the Derby for the first time in 2015, and it was Soto who quickly knocked him out in Round 2.
Olney: He would get the second biggest cheer of the night and be surrounded by all the players who had congratulated him after the first round. But he won’t survive a very tough matchup against Schwarber.
Pass: He’ll have a better-than-expected performance, meaning his first-round matchup against Schwarber won’t end with Schwarber having an extra minute left on the clock. Pujols is too competitive, too proud, to allow that. But in the end, he’ll get respect for pushing the top seed … but not the W he wants.
Schoenfeld: One and done. That is, not a home run. He would capture a dozen in the first round, but Schwarber would knock him out.
What’s the one moment we’ll all be talking about after this HR derby?
Gonzalez: The final round. Soto vs. Alonso. Two divisional rivals go at it. A rematch of last year’s semifinal from Coors Field, the best pure hitter of this generation. The pairing of Sotto and Alonso on opposite sides of the bracket this year was largely coincidental, and it would ultimately make for one of the most electrifying rounds the event has ever produced.
Olney: Soto swings his bat and brings it down after piling up big numbers in the championship round.
Pass: The Alonso-Rodriguez matchup in the semifinals was everything: King vs. Prodigy, right-handed batter vs. right-handed batter, could be the coronation. A national emerging party. Although Rodriguez drew the ire of the crowd for eliminating Seager, a longtime Dodger, in the first round, he would win them back with a performance in the next round. His crown.
Schoenfeld: How to pass the torch? Rodriguez was 6 months old when Pujols made his first All-Star Game as a rookie in 2001. Now the game’s next big star takes center stage. They won’t face each other until they meet in the finals, but at some point we’ll have a Pujols-Rodriguez hug — one generation after another.
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