Mets first baseman Pete Alonso poses with the trophy after winning the Home Run Derby at Progressive Field on Monday in Cleveland. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jason Miller

Alonso Looks to Three-“Pete” as Home Run Derby Champ

The 2022 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby is Monday night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Former Gator Pete Alonso looks to win his third straight title. The back-to-back defending derby champ will be going up against some tough competition. Alonso looks to become the first player to win three derbies since Ken Griffey Jr. tried for it and the first ever to win three in a row.

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No. 1 Kyle Schwarber vs. No. 8 Albert Pujols

Kyle Schwarber of the Philadelphia Phillies will go against Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals in a first round match up. Schwarber leads the National League in home runs with 29 at the All-Star break. The left-handed slugger will be competing in his second Home Run Derby and his first since 2018. He lost in the final round that year to now teammate, Bryce Harper. Schwarber has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball this summer as he has hit a league leading 18 long balls since the start of June.

The 42-year-old Pujols will be competing in the Home Run Derby for the fifth time in his illustrious career. The future Hall-of-Famer is in his final season and is looking for his first derby crown. The best he has done was runner-up to Garrett Anderson in the 2003 Home Run Derby. Pujols has the most career home runs among active players with 685, but the fewest of any derby participant this season, with six. On Monday, he attempts to be just the fourth player ever to hit 600 home runs and win a derby.

No. 2 Pete Alonso vs. No. 7 Ronald Acuńa Jr.

Pete Alonso of the New York Mets will face Ronald Acuńa Jr. of the Atlanta Braves in the 2 vs. 7 match up. Alonso is looking to win his third straight Home Run Derby after his championships in 2019 and 2021. The former Gator first-baseman has racked up 24 home runs and a league leading 78 RBIs in the first half. He has hit 32 more home runs than any other player in derby history with a career mark of 131. If Alonso is able to three-peat, it will mark the fourth derby title in Mets history. This would tie them with the Yankees for most all-time.

Acuńa Jr. was the National League’s leading vote-getter for the All-Star Game this year. He is coming off a torn ACL last season and has recorded just eight homers in 59 games in 2022. Acuńa will be appearing in his second career Home Run Derby. In his previous derby in 2019, Acuńa lost to eventual champion Pete Alonso in the second round. The perennial All-Star will look to avenge this loss on Monday as he will face Alonso in a first round match up.

No. 3 Corey Seager vs. No. 6 Julio Rodriguez

First year Texas Ranger Corey Seager will go against rookie Julio Rodriguez, of the Seattle Mariners, in the first round. Seager will be heading back to Los Angeles, where he played the first seven years of his career. The shortstop started off slow in Texas, but he had 22 homers in the first half, which is good for ninth best in the league. This includes a streak of five straight games with a home run in July. This will be the second Home Run Derby of Seager’s career after he lost in the first round to Mark Trumbo in 2016.

Mariners rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez will become the fourth youngest competitor in Derby history. He is looking to become just the third rookie to win a Home Run Derby and the youngest ever champion. The five-tool athlete is in the 94th percentile of hard-hit rate in the majors and 91st percentile in average exit velocity. He has both the longest and hardest-hit homers of any Mariner this season.

No. 4 Juan Soto vs. No. 5 José Ramírez

Washington Nationals star outfielder Juan Soto will take on Cleveland Guardian shortstop José Ramírez on Monday night. Soto will be competing in his second consecutive Home Run Derby after he put on quite the show in 2021. He hit the longest homer ever recorded in a Derby at 520 feet. Soto has hit an even 20 home runs this season and has said he wants to top his performance from last year by hitting the longest opposite-field homer this derby.

José Ramírez has put up MVP type numbers for Cleveland this season. He has hit .288 with 19 homers and 75 RBIs in the first half. The switch-hitter has not said what side of the plate he will hit from in the Derby as this will his first time competing. He is looking to be the first switch-hitter to win an outright Home Run Derby title and the first to make it to the finals since 2004.

About Hugh Green

Hugh is a second year student majoring in Journalism: Sports and Media at the University of Florida.

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