The MLB All-Star break is underway, with the exciting MLB Home Run Derby taking place tonight. In the end, it was Juan Soto who took home the win. Read on for the 2022 MLB Home Run Derby participants, results and analysis.
MLB Home Run Derby Participants
1 Seed: Kyle Schwarber (Philadelphia Phillies)
2 Seed: Pete Alonso (New York Mets)
3 Seed: Corey Seager (Texas Rangers)
4 Seed: Juan Soto (Washington Nationals)
5 Seed: Jose Ramirez (Cleveland Guardians)
6 Seed: Julio Rodriguez (Seattle Mariners)
7 Seed: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves)
8 Seed: Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals)
MLB Home Run Derby Results: Round 1
6-Seed: Julio Rodriguez (32 HR) eliminates 3-Seed: Corey Seager (24 HR)
2-Seed: Pete Alonso (21 HR) eliminates 7-Seed: Ronald Acuna Jr. (20 HR)
4-Seed: Juan Soto (18 HR) eliminates 5-Seed: Jose Ramirez (17 HR)
8-Seed: Albert Pujols (20 HR) eliminates 1-Seed: Kyle Schwarber (19 HR)
MLB Home Run Derby Results: Round 2
Julio Rodriguez (31 HR) eliminates Pete Alonso (23 HR)
Juan Soto (16 HR) eliminates Albert Pujols (15 HR)
MLB Home Run Derby Results: Finals
Juan Soto (19 HR) eliminates Julio Rodriguez (18 HR) to win the 2022 MLB Home Run Derby
2022 MLB Home Run Derby Highlights
The big question coming into tonight was if anyone could dethrone two-time defending champion Pete Alonso. We saw the champ give way to a wave of youth, as we also said goodbye to a living legend.
The polar bear was not quite his usual self tonight. He had more than enough to lead an easy comeback against a struggling Acuna in Round 1, but that was as far as Alonso could go. Only one man ever has three MLB Home Run Derby crowns, and it’s the legendary Ken Griffey Jr., so Alonso has plenty of time to join that illustrious company. For now, though, he had to give up his throne to the most dominant contest of the year
The show stealer of any other Derby would have been Julio Rodriguez, and in most other years, he probably would have left as champion as well. The 21-year-old rookie phenom crushed home runs throughout the first two rounds, with two 30+ rounds in a row. To put that feat in perspective, only six rounds ever have had that many, meaning he has a third of them all. The icing on the cake was surging past the previously unstoppable Alonso on his way to a bittersweet conclusion.
While he faded in the championship round, many will be talking about J-Rod’s excellence for years to come from tonight.
Almost a perfect ending to a Hall of Fame-worthy performance. “The Machine” was seen as a nostalgia act coming into tonight, highlighted by every fellow All-Star surrounding him and bowing to the living legend before he had even finished his first at-bat. To everyone’s surprise, though, this wasn’t a simple tip of the cap for Pujols. While he was far from the best in the field, he seemed to be willing himself forward with a first-round tie, then a subsequent OT win to miraculously advance against the top-seeded Schwarber.
Pujols was one home run shy of besting the eventual champion tonight, but even that shortcoming couldn’t sour the mood. Surrounded by his loved ones, and heralded all night by fellow elites of the game he’s carried for two decades, Pujols left a mark in a truly magical farewell. Perhaps the best part was his praise heaped onto the eventual winner that foreshadowed the event.
The second-youngest MLB Home Run Derby winner ever was nearly in tears before we began tonight. The Dominican-born Juan Soto has been perhaps the best in all of baseball in his young career so far, but he was full of love for Dominican’s favorite son Pujols to start the show. Heartwarmingly, Pujols lavished praise and love on Soto as well, proclaiming him a future Hall of Famer in his own right. The emotion seemed to build from there, as Soto scraped past Ramirez before facing the legend himself in Round 2. It took Soto all of his bonus time to topple Pujols in fittingly dramatic fashion, and the tiring Rodriguez finally faltered in the Finals to Soto.
A climactic showdown of two of baseball’s young stars was a perfect way to cap a passing of the torch for both Alonso’s crown and Pujols’ legacy to a deserving Soto. On the same day where contract rumors put the future of Juan Soto in Washington into doubt, there’s no doubt that this Derby will only add to the future legacy of this young legend.