MLB Home Run Derby 2022: Juan Soto edges out Julio Rodriguez for the crown

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new one mlb home run derby King was crowned at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Monday night.

citizens of Washington Young player Juan Soto defeated Seattle Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez to win the title 19-18.

It was Soto’s first MLB Home Run Derby title and it was dropped by a few seconds in dramatic fashion. At 23 years and 266 days, he is the second youngest home run derby champion.

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Julio Rodriguez of the American League, of the Seattle Mariners, smiles during the MLB All-Star Baseball home run derby in Los Angeles, Monday, July 18, 2022.
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Rodriguez defeated Corey Seeger in his first-round matchup 32-24. He won over New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso, who came to the derby as two-time defending champion. Rodriguez won that match 31-23.

Soto started with an 18–17 win over Cleveland Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez and later defeated Albert Pujols.

Pujols performed brilliantly in the semi-finals. He knocked out Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber in the first round in a surprise of the night.

Albert Pujols, of the National League of St. Louis Cardinals, smiles during the MLB All-Star Baseball home run derby on Monday, July 18, 2022 in Los Angeles.

Albert Pujols, of the National League of St. Louis Cardinals, smiles during the MLB All-Star Baseball home run derby on Monday, July 18, 2022 in Los Angeles.
(AP Photo/Abby Parr)

Pujol celebrated after the players took their swings, thinking that Schwarber was a shoo-in for a place in the semi-finals. But it was Pujols who made it out to win.

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In the semi-finals, Pujols was defeated by Soto 16-15. This is likely to be his final home run derby since he announced his plans to retire from baseball at the end of the season.

Alonso defeated the Atlanta Braves Outfielder Ronald Acua Jr. was 20–19 in the first round but then upset with Rodriguez in the semi-finals. Alonso was looking to be a three-time winner for the first time since Ken Griffey Jr.

Pete Alonso of the National League of the New York Mets reacts during the MLB All-Star Baseball home run derby, Monday, July 18, 2022, in Los Angeles.

Pete Alonso of the National League of the New York Mets reacts during the MLB All-Star Baseball home run derby, Monday, July 18, 2022, in Los Angeles.
(AP photo/Jee Si Hong)

In the end, the future of the sport was on display.

This year, 21-year-old Rodriguez earned his first All-Star selection in his first year. The hot-hitting outfielder had 16 home runs and was batting .275 with .814 OPS in 91 games so far this season. He has helped the Mariners ride a 14-game winning streak at the break.

The All-Star Game comes next season in Seattle and Rodriguez will have a chance to win it.

The 23-year-old Soto, who cannot be at the national level by the trade deadline, already has a World Series ring and a batting title under his belt. He is one of baseball’s brightest young stars.

July 18, 2022;  Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto (22) reacts after being hit in the first round during the 2022 home run derby at Dodgers Stadium.

July 18, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto (22) reacts after being hit in the first round during the 2022 home run derby at Dodgers Stadium.
(Jayne Kamin-Wancia-USA TODAY SPORTS)

He has 20 home runs and is batting .25 in 91 games with .901 OPS.

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The MLB All-Star Game is scheduled for Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on Fox.