HRDX team previews

July 1st, 2022

It's almost here: The inaugural FTX MLB Home Run Derby X will be taking off on July 9 from London's Crystal Palace Park and home runs may never be the same. But just which team are you going to root for? Which player will become your favorite? Well, we're here to help with that as we break down each of the four teams -- Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees -- into a little more detail for you.


Legend: Geo Soto

Soto made an impact from the very beginning of his NL Rookie of the Year Award-winning campaign in 2008. The Cubs' catcher was the first National League rookie to ever start behind the plate in the All-Star Game, and later that year he caught Carlos Zambrano's neutral-site no-hitter. Soto finished his career with 108 home runs.

Superstar: Alex Hugo

A former softball star at the University of Georgia and in the National Pro Fastpitch league, Hugo switched to baseball and immediately became a key contributor for the U.S. Women's National Team. She hit .652 with four home runs to help the U.S. win gold at the 2019 Pan-American Championships, collecting All-Tournament, Most Valuable Player and 2019 USA Baseball Sportswoman of the Year Awards along the way.

Wild Card: Spencer Owen

Though he originally came to fame as one of the greatest FIFA video game players in the world, Owen switched to the real pitch when he founded Hashtag United. One of the most popular football franchises around the world due to its massive internet presence, the club now has both a men's and women's team in the English football pyramid. Owen is arguably the most competitive player in the HRDX tournament.

Rookie: Jordan Edmonds

Edmonds has played baseball across 18 countries in his career, but the London HRDX event will be a welcome homecoming. That's because Edmonds also stars for the London Mets, who could make UK baseball history this summer. Playing in the Federation Cup, they'll take on five other teams from across Europe this summer for the title of best baseball team on the continent -- something no team from the UK has ever done.


Legend: Adrián González

A five-time All-Star, González was one of the best first basemen in the Majors during his 15-year career. With a patient batting eye and plenty of pop, González smashed 317 career home runs and has represented Mexico in the World Baseball Classic and the 2020 Olympic Games.

Superstar: Ashton Lansdell

Called up to the Women's National Team at just 17 years old, Lansdell both pitched and played the outfield at the 2019 Pan-American Championships. She cracked two home runs and was 3-for-3 stealing bases in the tournament, and even hit for the cycle against Cuba.

Wild Card: Yoongy Kwak

If basestealing was a part of this event, Kwak would easily run away (see what I did there?) with the title. Known for his shock of brightly dyed hair, Kwak was the 2012 Overall World Champion in speed skating and he won silver medals at the 2016 and 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Rookie: Zach Stroman

Stroman has played for club teams all over the world, but currently plays with the London Mets alongside Edmonds. The power-hitter smashed a 420-foot blast while playing in Germany and he went 3-for-3 with a double, two walks, an RBI and two-runs scored against Belgium in his debut for the Great Britain National Team.

Red Sox

Legend: Jonny Gomes

A fan favorite with a penchant for big hits in big moments, Gomes won World Series rings with the Red Sox in 2013 and the Royals in 2015. (He also gave an impassioned -- if at times unprintable -- speech after that victory.) Known for his high-energy play, the beard that became his signature in Boston, and plenty of power, Gomes retired with 162 career home runs.

Superstar: Paige Halstead

A star behind the dish, Halstead won silver with the U.S. women's national softball team in 2016 and defeated the juggernaut that is Oklahoma softball to win the Women's College World Series while attending UCLA in 2019. Known for her strong swing and solid fundamentals, Halstead now plays professionally for Athletes Unlimited.

Wild Card: Liv Cooke

If anyone is going to unleash a viral bat flip, it's going to be Cooke. Hailing from Manchester, England, Cooke is is the the first female World Champion football freestyler and, with a brand new title as of Friday morning, a six-time world record holder.

Rookie: Kennard Dawson

Originally from the British Virgin Islands, Dawson was recruited to play for Great Britain's U23 side and the National team last fall for the 2021 World Baseball Classic qualifiers. After playing for the Georgia Premier Academy and East Georgia State College, you can find him on the Brewton-Parker College roster this upcoming season.


Legend: Nick Swisher

One of the friendliest and most outgoing players to ever put on the jersey, Nick Swisher was a fan favorite wherever he went during his 12-year career. Swisher was an All-Star, competed in the 2010 HR Derby, and won a World Series ring with the Yankees in 2009. (Oh yeah, he also acted in a few things, too.) The slugger hit 20-plus home runs every season from 2005-13, finishing his career with 245 dingers.

Superstar: Erika Piancastelli

While playing softball at McNeese State, Piancastelli went on to become the Southland Conference all-time leader in RBIs, home runs, doubles, slugging percentage and walks -- a shocking feat considering the physical toll she took while also playing catcher. A four-time conference Player of the Year, Piancastelli now plays professionally in Japan. She also represents Italy internationally and appeared in the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Wild Card: Daniel Corral

Keep your eyes on Corral when all the players are out warming up on the field: While everyone else struggles with their pregame stretches, the former Olympic gymnast will likely be contorting himself into pretzels with ease. In addition to appearing in multiple Summer Olympics, Corral medaled in the 2013 World Championships, 2013 Summer Universiade, and has two golds from the Pan American Games.

Rookie: Richard Brereton

Brereton grew up a Yankees fanatic, so it's fitting that he ended up on the team for HRDX. A star pitcher while in college at Emory University and Duke University, Brereton plays both the outfield and pitches in relief as a member of the Great Britain National Team.