This past Monday(7/18/22) at Dodger Stadium, Nationals outfielder Juan Soto won the 2022 MLB Home Run Derby with a total of 53 home runs.
Soto, at only 23 years old, crushed 53 home runs in the midseason power exhibition, defeating his three opponents by a single home run apiece. Soto was focused on the plate despite spending an hour earlier at Dodger Stadium fielding questions about his potential exit from the Nationals after rejecting a hefty contract extension.
“It’s an unbelievable sensation. It’s a lot of work “commented Soto. “I simply tried to focus on getting the balls squared off because I am confident.” Juan Soto beat Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians 18-17 in the first round, then beat 42-year-old Albert Pujols 16-15 to go to the title game.
After defeating Mariners rookie Julio Rodrguez 19–18 in the finals, the legendary outfielder earned his maiden HR Derby title. After defeating an All-Star field that featured two-time winner Pete Alonso, Ronald Acuna Jr., Albert Pujols, Kyle Schwarber, José Ramrez, and Corey Seager, Soto will take home $1 million of the $2.5 million prize pool.
After impressively stopping Alonso’s bid for an elusive hat trick, Rodriguez, who finished the night with an astonishing 81 home runs, met Soto in Round 2. By defeating the Mets All-Star 31–22, the up-and-comer ended the veteran’s two-year dominance. The 2020 tournament has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alonso won in 2018 and 2019 at Coors Field in Denver and Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Soto, the evening’s No. 4 seed, advanced to the semifinals with an 18-17 victory over Ramrez, the No. 5 seed. In the second round, he defeated the storied Pujols by a score of 16–15, setting up a showdown with Rodriguez for the championship. When Soto took his first ten swings, he found his rhythm, blasting ten home runs before taking a break and returning to hit four more, including a 415-foot homer with 20 seconds remaining to seal the game.