My favorite player in the Home Run Derby made more noise than a lot of people were expecting. He was gifted the extra 30 seconds out of respect, but he made it count as he took down the one-seed Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber had a very disappointing performance. He looked like he just never fully caught a rhythm and it resulted in his elimination in the first round. Pujols was treated like the baseball royalty he is by the fans and players at last night’s event and he rewarded them with a solid showing.
The defending champ was eliminated by Julio Rodriquez Jr. in the second round. Alonso did well throughout the first two rounds but couldn’t quite overcome Rodriquez who put up incredible numbers in his first HRD appearance. Alonso’s main headline from last night wasn’t even his homeruns, it was more about his actions in between rounds. He appeared to be meditating at some points and doing a few different quirky things that caught many people’s attention.
Julio Rodriquez Jr.:
The J-Rod Show was on in full effect last night as the rookie put up 32 and 31 homeruns in his first two rounds. He was decimating baseballs left and right throughout the whole competition and did it with style as well. I think last night’s performance will really help put his name on the map as he plays in Seattle which doesn’t allow most of the East Coast to see his talents on a daily basis. I hope he continues to compete in events like this because he was definitely one of the most entertaining parts of the whole night.
Your 2022 Home Run Derby Champion, Juan Soto. I will take a quick moment here to brag a little bit as I called Soto’s victory in yesterday’s prediction article. Okay, back to the real story here. Soto may not have hit as many total homeruns as Rodriquez Jr., but he hit the amount he needed to when it mattered most. I really enjoy how the derby is set up right now, but I can definitely see how the setup benefited Soto. Soto was a higher seed therefor was able to stop swinging as soon as he passed his opponents. Rodriquez Jr. continued to swing for the entirety of all three of his rounds due to him being the lower seed, which seemed to bring on a little bit of fatigue in the final round. Soto has experience in the Derby and benefited from being the higher seed which I think propelled him to win it all.
I was a big fan of last night’s event overall. The players were exciting from beginning to end and the results reflected that. It is cool to see how the young guys are starting to take the reigns from the older generation. Young stars are popping up all around the league, and with players like Soto and J-Rod leading the pack, the future in the MLB is very bright.