MLB All-Star Home Run Derby 2022

Who’s ready for some excitement at the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby? The most anticipated event of the summer heads to Hollywood, where some of the sport’s biggest names will take aim at the stands at Dodger Stadium on July 18 (8pm ET on ESPN).

After the first competitor in this summer’s eight-strong field was announced on Monday, one thing is clear: everyone will be looking to keep up with Derby champion Pete Alonso.

As the remaining candidates for Thursday’s (7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN) Home Run Derby Bracket Selection Show are announced, we’ll be breaking down each selected player — and their case, the Mets’ slugger known as “Polar Bear,” the belt off. “

Advertised field: Pete Alonso, Ronald Acuna Jr., Albert Pujols, Juan Soto, and Kyle Schwarber

To play: ESPN’s Derby Pick’em

Peter Alonso

Personnel 2022 total: 23 | The longest: 447 feet

Why he’s the home run king: Alonso has competed in two All-Star Home Run Derbies during his MLB career and twice finished the night as champion — and twice won a $1 million award for his efforts.

In 2019, Alonso defeated Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in an epic derby match by hitting a total of 57 long balls in Cleveland. When the event returned in 2021, Alonso overtook the field at Denver’s Coors Field, surpassing Trey Mancini in the last lap and hitting 74 total home runs — including 20 that went at least 475 feet.

After his win in 2021, Alonso said: “I think I’m the best power hitter in the world. Showing that and making it really fun for the fans is really a dream for me. When I was younger, my parents even let me stay up past my bedtime to watch it.”

Apparently, all the nights that stayed up paid off for the Mets slugger.

Derby Fun Fact: Alonso joined Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) and Yoenis Cespedes (2013-14) as the only consecutive champions in Derby history.

Home runs 2022: 8 | The longest: 464 feet

Why he was able to defeat Alonso: There may not be another player in this year’s field who competes with as much panache as Acuna – and that could go a long way in front of a star-studded Los Angeles crowd. While Acuna is known for his all-around ability and Alonso more for his alone hitting, their career home run totals show that the performance gap between the two National League East stars isn’t as big as you might think:

Acuna – 113 hours, 448 games

Alonso – 129 hours, 455 games

Why he might not: After returning earlier this season from a cruciate ligament injury he sustained last July, Acuna’s power punch was the last part of his game to return. So far in 2022, he has hit just eight homers in 53 games after hitting 24 long balls in 82 games before his season ended last summer.

Derby Fun Fact: Acuna competed in the 2019 Home Run Derby, eliminating Josh Bell in the first round before falling to Pete Alonso in the semifinals. Acuna hit 19 homers in the round before Alonso advanced to the finals with 20.

Albert Pujols

Home runs 2022: 5 | The longest: 426 feet

Why he was able to defeat Alonso: Well, the guy knows a thing or two about hitting home runs, considering he’s hit 684 of them in his career in the regular season — not to mention 19 more in the postseason. Sure, it’s been a long time since Pujol’s peak, but he still has the raw power to wreak havoc in this competition, and his late-career swing was more flyball-oriented anyway. He’ll be the sentimental favorite and maybe the crowd will cheer him on for a few extra home runs.

Why he might not: Did we mention that the Pujols summit was a long time ago? If he sticks to five home runs over the next week, he will have the fewest home runs for a player participating in the competition. (The Tigers’ Ivan Rodriguez had six when he competed at his home park in 2005.) Pujols will be the oldest player to ever compete; the oldest participant to date was 39-year-old Barry Bonds in 2004. And it’s hard to imagine Pujols having the stamina to win three rounds. Damn, we’ve seen young Guys get tired after a round or two – and Pujols is 42!

Derby Fun Fact: Pujols will become the seventh player to have played in the home run derby at least five times, alongside Ken Griffey Jr., Mark McGwire, Prince Fielder, Bonds, Sammy Sosa and David Ortiz.

Juan Soto

Home runs 2022: 17 | The longest: 451 feet

Why he was able to defeat Alonso: Because he obviously wants it. Many young players are at the bottom in the home run derby, but Soto is back for the second year in a row. You may recall that a year ago he ousted Shohei Ohtani 31-28 in an epic overtime match before losing to Alonso 16-15 in the semifinals. He wants his revenge.

Why he might not: That 16-15 loss to Alonso wasn’t as close as it seems. Soto went first and tired after his big first lap. Alonso actually had about a minute left when he defeated Soto, so he would have destroyed him had he used his full time allotment. Alonso has proven he can go the distance every three laps; Not so.

Derby Fun Fact: Soto’s 520-foot home run in last year’s Derby was the longest in the competition during the Statcast era.

Kyle Schwarber

Home runs 2022: 28 | The longest: 468 feet

Why he was able to defeat Alonso: Schwarber has years of home run derby experience, finishing second to Bryce Harper in 2018. Harper was the clear fan favorite of crowds in Washington, D.C., but Schwarber – then a member of the Cubs – got going, firing drive after drive into the right field seats and impressing colleagues with his consistency in the event, as he took on found a rhythm with his swing. That could be crucial against Alonso.

Earlier this summer, a veteran slugger mused on this summer’s Home Run Derby, Alonso’s dominance, and suggested it would take someone with previous experience of the event to defeat the two-time defending champion. “It’s a grueling event,” said the slugger. “You are exhausted. And nobody who deals with it for the first time will beat him.”

Why he might not: Up until just days ago, Schwarber appeared reluctant to attend this year, citing the event as “a bucket list thing” that he had already crossed out and raising concerns about the impact on his body. If Schwarber steps away from his approach over fears of injury — especially with his now teammates Harper and Jean Segura already in the IL for the Phillies — Alonso will be a tough hit. But if Schwarber rises to the occasion, he could present Alonso with a special challenge.

Derby Fun Fact: Despite losing to Harper in the final at Nationals Park, Schwarber’s 55 total home runs were the most of any derby entrant in 2018. MLB All-Star Home Run Derby 2022

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