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

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new Major League Baseball home run derby The King was crowned on Monday evening at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Washington Nationals youth Juan Soto defeated Seattle Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez to capture the title 19–18.

It was Soto’s first MLB Home Run Derby title, and he did it in dramatic fashion with just seconds left. At 23 years and 266 days old, he is the second youngest Home Run Derby champion.

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Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners of the American League smiles during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game home run derby on Monday, July 18, 2022, in Los Angeles.

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

Rodriguez knocked out Cory Seager in the first round match with a score of 32-24. He then scored a victory over New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso, who entered the Derby as a two-time defending champion. Rodriguez won that match 31-23.

Soto started with an 18–17 win over Cleveland Guardians third baseman José Ramirez before knocking out Albert Pujols.

The Pujols magically made it to the semi-finals. He edged out Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber in the first round, one of the evening’s surprises.

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

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

The players celebrated Pujol after he swung, thinking that Schwarber had managed to reach the semi-finals. But it was Pujols who pulled him out in victory.

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Pujols then lost to Soto 16–15 in the semi-finals. This will likely be his last Home Run derby as he announced his plans to retire from baseball at the end of the season.

Alonso defeated Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. 20-19 in the first round but was then upset by Rodriguez in the semi-finals. Alonso wanted to be the first three-time winner since Ken Griffey Jr.

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

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

After all, the future of the sport has been demonstrated.

This year, 21-year-old Rodriguez earned his first All-Star selection in his first year. The hot outfielder hit 16 home runs and hit .275 at .814 in 91 games this season. He helped the Mariners win a 14-game streak before halftime.

The All-Star game will be held in Seattle next season, and Rodriguez will have a chance to win it.

Soto, 23, who may not be competing in the Nationals by the trade deadline, already has a World Series ring and championship under his belt. He is one of baseball’s brightest young stars.

July 18, 2022;  Los Angeles, California, USA;  Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto, 22, reacts to a first-round hit during the 2022 home run derby at Dodgers Stadium.

July 18, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Juan Soto, 22, reacts to a first-round hit during the 2022 home run derby at Dodgers Stadium.
(Jane Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

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

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The MLB All-Star Game is scheduled for Tuesday night at 8:00 pm on FOX.