Soto takes Derby crown, edging show-stopper J-Rod

July 19th, 2022

The 2022 T-Mobile Home Run Derby crowned a first-time champ at Dodger Stadium on Monday night, when Nationals superstar Juan Soto denied Mariners standout rookie Julio Rodríguez in a final round featuring a pair of rising stars from the Dominican Republic.


No. 4 seed: Juan Soto, Nationals: 19 finals homers (champion)
As the higher seed, Soto got to sit back and watch Rodríguez set the mark to beat with 18 homers, one more than José Ramírez posted against him in the first round. Soto started slow again, not hitting a homer until 45 seconds in, but then found another level with 10 homers in a span of 12 swings before taking his timeout. He returned still hot and crushed 15 by the end of regulation. Soto quickly got the four he needed to lift the crown, tossing his bat after winning the 2022 T-Mobile Home Run Derby. At 23 years, 266 days old, Soto won just one day short of tying Juan González as the youngest winner in Derby history.

LONGEST HR: 471 feet
HARDEST HR: 111 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 428 feet


No. 6 seed: Julio Rodríguez, Mariners: 18 finals homers (eliminated)
With two young stars facing off for the Home Run Derby crown -- the 21-year-old Rodríguez vs. the 23-year-old Soto -- the younger slugger started things off with another bang, a 437-foot shot to open the final round. J-Rod hit 14 homers in regulation time and four more in bonus time to give him 18 in the finals. After his 32-homer Round 1 and 31-homer Round 2, that gave Rodríguez 81 home runs in the 2022 Home Run Derby, second most in any single Derby behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s 91 in 2019.

LONGEST HR: 446 feet
HARDEST HR: 108 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 412 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 103.4 mph


No. 4 seed: Juan Soto, Nationals: 16 semifinal homers (advanced)
Taking on Pujols -- a fellow native of Santo Domingo, D.R. -- Soto came into the semifinals needing 16 home runs to take down the rejuvenated Pujols and secure his spot in the finals against another Dominican star in Julio Rodríguez. Soto got off to a slow start in the semis but started to find his swing soon after, hitting five more before his break. He added seven more before his minute of bonus time, needing only three homers to win. Soto started his bonus time with a swing and miss but quickly recovered to swat the final trio of dingers to advance to the finals and knock out his countryman.

LONGEST HR: 459 feet
HARDEST HR: 114 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 424 feet

No. 8 seed: Albert Pujols, Cardinals: 15 semifinal homers (eliminated)
Facing a 23-year-old who made his Major League debut 17 years after he did, Pujols followed up his 20 home runs in Round 1 with 15 more in Round 2 -- 12 in regulation and three more in bonus time (after receiving a pep talk from Manny Machado). That brought Pujols' 2022 Derby total to 35 home runs, easily his most in any of his five Home Run Derbies -- his previous high was 26 in 2003. Pujols raised his career Home Run Derby total to 106 -- he entered the 2022 Derby with 71 home runs, eighth all time.

LONGEST HR: 418 feet
HARDEST HR: 104 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 395 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 100.2 mph

No. 6 seed: Julio Rodríguez, Mariners: 31 semifinal homers (advanced)
After hitting the fourth-most homers in any Derby round ever in Round 1, Rodríguez had to face the two-time reigning champ in Alonso in the semifinals. The first half of the matchup lived up to the billing, as J-Rod put up his second straight 30-homer round. Trying to become the third rookie champion in the last five Home Run Derbies -- along with Alonso himself in 2019 and Aaron Judge in 2017 -- Rodríguez crushed 23 home runs in regulation, including a 450-footer. In his minute of bonus time, J-Rod added eight more, for 31 total.

LONGEST HR: 450 feet
HARDEST HR: 108 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 410 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 103.5 mph

No. 2 seed: Pete Alonso, Mets: 23 semifinal homers (eliminated)
Alonso was opposite the energetic rookie in Rodríguez, who blasted 32 homers in his first-round performance. J-Rod put the pressure on the defending champ with another 31 dingers in his semifinal performance. Alonso started a bit sluggish, hitting six homers before taking his timeout with about 1:40 to go in regulation. The Polar Bear started to flip a switch, though, as he added 12 homers to bring his regulation total to 18. The final minute of bonus time wasn’t enough for the two-time champ, who got to only 23 home runs before time ran out.

LONGEST HR: 463 feet
HARDEST HR: 113 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 427 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 108.7 mph

First round

No. 6 seed: Julio Rodríguez, Mariners: 32 first-round homers (advanced)
The Mariners phenom got the show started in L.A. with the second-most homers in any round by a rookie in Derby history. Swinging a black bat with his nickname "J-Rod" plastered all over it in Mariners green, Rodríguez crushed a 463-foot shot to left-center at Dodger Stadium for the first home run of the Derby. J-Rod heated up fast in his first Home Run Derby, crushing 14 home runs before calling timeout just over halfway through his round -- then adding 11 more to take his total to 25 before bonus time. Seven more home runs in bonus time earned Rodríguez a standing ovation from the Dodger Stadium crowd. J-Rod hit 10 homers of 440-plus feet, and six 450-footers.

LONGEST HR: 463 feet
HARDEST HR: 109 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 420 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 104.4 mph

No. 3 seed: Corey Seager, Rangers: 24 first-round homers (eliminated)
Making a return to the stadium he used to call home, Seager had a tough act to follow after Rodríguez crushed 32 home runs to lead off the Derby. With his dad, Jeffrey, throwing to him, Seager earned bonus time early with two of his first four homers going more than 440 feet. He got up to 10 dingers before taking his timeout. Seager got into a groove once he came back, blasting 10 more homers to run his total to 20 before bonus time. He couldn’t overcome the deficit, though, ending with 24 home runs.

LONGEST HR: 451 feet
HARDEST HR: 106 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 416 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 102.7 mph

No. 2 seed: Pete Alonso, Mets: 20 first-round homers (advanced)
The man to beat in the competition, Alonso started his quest for a three-peat against an intradivision rival in Acuña, who hit 19 home runs. Alonso was vibing early, bobbing his head to the music that filled Dodger Stadium. His first swing was a 109-mph rocket. He followed that a few swings later with a massive 480-foot homer, earning an extra minute in a span of four homers. Alonso still had some work to do, as he hit only 10 home runs before his break. He came back a little sluggish, hitting three homers before rattling off four straight to bring his total to 17 ahead of bonus time. Alonso needed only 30 seconds before walking it off with his 20th dinger.

LONGEST HR: 480 feet
HARDEST HR: 113 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 429 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 108.3 mph

No. 7 seed: Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves: 19 first-round homers (eliminated)
Facing the two-time reigning champion Pete Alonso in the first round -- his second straight Derby matchup against Alonso, who beat him, 20-19, in the semifinals in 2019 -- Acuña got off to a little bit of a slow start. But the Braves star recovered to belt 18 home runs by the end of regulation time, including a 472-foot blast that drew "Oohs" from the crowd. That was his only homer of 440-plus feet, though, so Acuña got only 30 seconds of bonus time instead of a full minute. He added one more homer to bring his total to 19, the same as the last time he faced Alonso.

LONGEST HR: 472 feet
HARDEST HR: 117 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 408 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 107.1 mph

No. 5 seed: José Ramírez, Guardians: 17 first-round homers (eliminated)
In his quest to become the first switch-hitter to win a Home Run Derby outright, Ramírez batted righty at Dodger Stadium -- even though he's hit a lot more home runs as a lefty in his MLB career. He finally found his groove late in the round, reaching 15 home runs despite having only four when he called his timeout. J-Ram didn't hit any 440-footers, but he added two more home runs in his extra 30 seconds to take his first-round total to 17.

LONGEST HR: 421 feet
HARDEST HR: 104 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 387 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 99.3 mph

No. 4 seed: Juan Soto, Nationals: 18 first-round homers (advanced)
Soto started hot, hitting five homers in his first seven swings, including two of 440 feet or longer. He had 10 before taking his timeout, putting himself in a great position to advance. He walked it off with his 18th blast just seconds before the end of regulation.

LONGEST HR: 482 feet
HARDEST HR: 113 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 427 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 106 mph

No. 8 seed: Albert Pujols, Cardinals: 20 first-round homers (advances)
The Cardinals legend took the field for his fifth and final Home Run Derby nearly two full decades after making the finals in his first Derby in 2003, becoming the oldest Derby contestant ever at age 42 and the first to participate in a Derby in three different decades. After hitting 10 home runs in regulation time, Pujols was surrounded by many of his fellow All-Stars at home plate before the start of his 30 seconds of bonus time. He followed that by crushing three more home runs in bonus time, finishing with 13, including a long of 434 feet. After Schwarber also hit 13 homers, the two sluggers entered a one-minute tiebreaker. Returning to the plate to an ovation from the crowd, Pujols quickly crushed home run No. 14 -- and six more after that, giving the Machine 20 home runs in total.

LONGEST HR: 434 feet
HARDEST HR: 105 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 406 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 101.5 mph

No. 1 seed: Kyle Schwarber, Phillies: 19 first-round homers (eliminated)
The top seed in the tournament, Schwarber faced off against Pujols, who has 685 homers to his name. The 42-year-old Pujols opened with 13 dingers, giving Schwarber a decent-size hill to climb. The Phillies slugger wasted no time chipping into that, hitting seven homers before taking his timeout. He was slow out of the gate after the break, adding only three before his minute of bonus time. Schwarber didn’t hit his first homer in bonus time until the halfway point, but added three in the final 30 seconds to force a one-minute tiebreaker. Pujols found the fountain of youth and added seven more home runs in the short tiebreaker to put the pressure on the NL home run leader, and Schwarber came up just short, slugging six homers in extra time to bring his total to 19.

LONGEST HR: 470 feet
HARDEST HR: 111 mph
AVG. HR DISTANCE: 419 feet
AVG. HR EXIT VELO: 105.3 mph