The Home Run Derby is always one of the most highly-anticipated events of the MLB season. And as always, this year is going to be a great one. The MLB selected a combination of strong, seasoned veterans and young superstars to participate in the annual competition for the greatest sluggers across the league. In just a few days, one of the eight carefully-selected contestants will be crowned as the Home Run King.
So without further ado, let’s meet the participants! (All stats from 7/16)
- Seed: 8
- First-Round Opponent: Kyle Schwarber
- Position: 1B/DH
- Career Home Runs: 685
- 2022 Home Runs: 6
- OPS: .690
- Batting Average: .219
- Experience: Pujols has the most experience of the participants in the 2022 Home Run Derby. This will be the fifth time he is part of the event. He has never won a Home Run Derby, but he is eighth all-time with 71 total home runs from the four derbies that he previously played in.
Ronald Acuna, Jr.
- Seed: 7
- First-Round Opponent: Pete Alonso
- Position: OF
- Career Home Runs: 113
- 2022 Home Runs: 8
- OPS: .786
- Batting Average: .270
- Experience: Acuna, a participant in 2019, was eliminated by Pete Alonso in the second round. This year, he will have the opportunity to even up the playing field with Alonso in the first round.
- Seed: 6
- First-Round Opponent: Corey Seager
- Position: CF
- Career Home Runs: 16
- 2022 Home Runs: 16
- OPS: .814
- Batting Average: .275
- Experience: Rookie!
- Seed: 5
- First-Round Opponent: Juan Soto
- Position: 3B
- Career Home Runs: 180
- 2022 Home Runs: 17
- OPS: .925
- Batting Average: .285
- Experience: Many thought that Ramirez was going to be a participant in 2018, but he chose not to. So this will be his first opportunity to take home the trophy in the annual derby.
- Seed: 4
- First-Round Opponent: Jose Ramirez
- Position: OF/DH
- Career Home Runs: 117
- 2022 Home Runs: 19
- OPS: .895
- Batting Average: .247
- Experience: Juan Soto set a record in the 2021 Home Run Derby when he hit a 520-foot moonshot in the first round in Colorado. He was defeated by Alonso in the following round.
- Seed: 3
- First-Round Opponent: Julio Rodriguez
- Position: SS
- Career Home Runs: 126
- 2022 Home Runs: 22
- OPS: .796
- Batting Average: .246
- Experience: In 2016, his rookie year, Seager was knocked out of the derby by former slugger Mark Trumbo in the first round, despite hitting 15 home runs in that round.
- Seed: 2
- First-Round Opponent: Ronald Acuna, Jr.
- Position: 1B/DH
- Career Home Runs: 130
- 2022 Home Runs: 24
- OPS: .875
- Batting Average: .269
- Experience: Pete Alonso has won the last two derbies, and it would not surprise anyone if he won it again. And whether he wins or not, he will surely put on a show.
- Seed: 1
- First-Round Opponent: Albert Pujols
- Position: DH/OF
- Career Home Runs: 181
- 2022 Home Runs: 28
- OPS: .827
- Batting Average: .211
- Experience: Schwarber participated in 2018 and lost to then-National Bryce Harper. Another fun fact is that he beat Phillie Rhys Hoskins in the semifinals that year. He is one of three current Phillies that were part of the 2018 derby.
This is one of the best fields we have ever seen.
And nobody can argue that.
So, I figured this was a good opportunity to ask some of my colleagues at Philly Sports Reports some questions about the event. Of course, I had to answer my own question, so I will start.
Predicted Winner: Pete “Polar Bear” Alonso
Alonso is the safe choice here, and his resume backs that up. Alonso has won the last two derbies and already has 130 home runs in his four-year major league career. His raw power and easy swing gives him an advantage over participants like Juan Soto and Julio Rodriguez, who are considered to have a little bit of speed, power, and contact.
Biggest Upset: Julio Rodriguez (6) over Corey Seager (3)
Julio Rodriguez, a young slugger from Seattle, has one of the highest upsides of all of the rookies in the 2022 class. He has the potential to be a 40-40 player in the near future, especially since he already has 15 home runs and 21 stolen bases. And in a competition like the Home Run Derby, his youthfulness can never hurt.
He will go up against Rangers’ infielder Corey Seager, who has strong power numbers in 2022, but is seven years older than Rodriguez and has not been much of a power hitter throughout his career.
And while Julio Rodriguez is not the winner that most people are anticipating, I would be less than surprised if he is one million dollars richer when he wakes up on Tuesday.
Predicted Winner: Pete Alonso
Alonso may be the greatest Home Run Derby-er of all time. He’s won in back-to-back seasons and absolutely rakes. Alonso’s got so much power, and the only thing he is really good at is hitting home runs. I think he goes for his third-straight title, and hopefully, it’ll be the only thing the Mets win this season.
Biggest Upset: Kyle Schwarber (1) over Albert Pujols (8)
My upset is Albert Pujols. Do I think he will win? No. The only shot he’s got is if the MLB fixes this in his favor, which I have a good feeling they will. But Pujols can still very well hit homers, it’s just that he has struggled to do that this season as much as usual. He has also not had consistent playing time, so his power numbers have not jumped off the charts like they used to. The only reason he’s being included in the derby is that he’s retiring, so this may be fixed for him.
Predicted Winner: Pete Alonso
I picked Alonso because he has been thriving at the dish this season. Also, I picked him because he has that type of body that helps a ton with driving the ball deep and hitting for power. I just feel like he tops every other participant that is participating in the Home Run Derby this year.
Biggest Upsets: Jose Ramirez (5) over Juan Soto (4) and Julio Rodriguez (6) over Corey Seager (3)
I picked the two participants above because they both have what it takes to top big names like Juan Soto and Corey Seager. They both have the strength to outlast the person they are against. Their bat speeds are phenomenal, and they can generate good swings against their opponent, whoever it may be.
Predicted Winner: Ronald Acuna, Jr.
I picked Ronald Acuna because he is young with extreme pop. Acuna has hit some long home runs in his young career. He has a smooth swing and a great body type for a power hitter.
Biggest Upset: Ronald Acuna, Jr. (7) over Pete Alonso (2)
I think the biggest upset will be Acuna over the polar bear, Pete Alonso. I think Acuna is the dark-horse competitor. He is known for his power but is overlooked since he is facing Alonso in the first round.
Join Ben as he and the Phandemic Krew host a live show for the Home Run Derby: