Has Juan Soto Won a Home Run Derby?
Juan Soto of the Nationals came back to win the Home Run Derby in 2022, a year after losing to Pete Alonso in the semifinals of the competition the year before. In the final round, Soto blasted 19 home missiles, while Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez hit 18.
Rodriguez’s performance in the first two rounds was nothing short of spectacular. He smashed 63 home runs and eliminated players such as Corey Seager and Alonso.
In the meantime, Soto was pitted against an unexpected competitor in Round 2: the 42-year-old Albert Pujols. Pujols had just shocked the baseball world by eliminating Kyle Schwarber in the semifinals via swing-off.
As Ken Griffey Jr. watched another young Mariner make the country aware of how amazing he is, the final round of the Home Run Derby was the youngest in the history of Major League Baseball.
This is the second consecutive year that a Nationals player has won the Home Run Derby, following Bryce Harper’s victory in 2018 in front of a home crowd at Nationals Park. Both National champions won the Derby by the same score of 19-18 in a walk-off.
In the first-ever Dodger Stadium Home Run Derby, Soto blazed a trail for the team. In the first round, Rodrguez became the first player in the history of the Derby to hit 30 or more home runs.
Sammy Sosa, Miguel Tejada, Vladimir Guerrero Sr, David Ortiz, and Robinson Canó are all Dominican-born players who have won the World Series (2011).
Three of the four semifinalists (Albert Pujols, Rodrguez, and Soto) were born in the Dominican Republic, which helped Soto win the championship trophy.