The MLB Home Run Derby is on the schedule for Monday night as part of the activities for tomorrow’s All-Star Game.
The top eight power hitters in all of baseball will match up in the first round, with two-time defending champion Pete Alonso of the New York Mets ready to defend his title. Alonso is the number two seed behind Kyle Schwarber of the Philadelphia Phillies but is favored to win again this year.
Alonso hopes to be the first to win three straight Home Run Derby titles, which would put him in a tie with Ken Griffey Jr. as the only players to win the coveted trophy on three different occasions.
While winning last year’s event, Alonso hit 74 home runs and has more total homers than anyone in the event’s history with 131. That makes him a hot commodity this season, with plenty of games still left to play.
Alonso won’t have an easy time winning if he hopes for another title. He is matched up on the more difficult side of the bracket and will be up against Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves in the first round. He faced Acuna in the semifinals in 2019 and barely escaped, winning the matchup by a 20-19 score.
The 2022 Home Run Derby field looks completely different than last season and will present a bigger challenge to the defending champion. Schwarber is returning to the event for the first time since 2018 when he finished second to Bryce Harper.
Juan Soto is the only participant returning from last year’s Derby and upset Shohei Ohtani in the first round before losing to Alonso in the semifinals. Soto also broke the record for the longest homer in Derby history with a 520-foot blast in 2021.
Albert Pujols is in his final MLB season and made his debut in the Home Run Derby in 2003, where he advanced to the final and lost to Garrett Anderson.
He hasn’t had much power in his bat this season, although he hit two home runs last week. His 685 career homers are the most for any competing player as he’ll match up against Schwarber in the first round tonight.
The other first-round matchups will feature the Texas Rangers’ Corey Seager against rookie Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners, and Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Guardians will go up against Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals.
Two-time champion Alonso is favored to take another victory after winning as a longshot in 2019 and then as the favorite in 2021. Schwarber leads all participants in the field with 29 homers this season, which makes him the number one seed in the tournament.
Alonso is favored in the Home Run Derby for the second straight year but will face players with more experience than last year’s field, such as Soto and Seager.
Acuna definitely has enough power to compete in this competition but only has eight homers in the 56 games since he returned from injury.
Godds Pick/Prediction: Pete Alonso will win his record third straight Home Run Derby title.