Acuna draws No. 6 seed in HR Derby debut

July 8th, 2019

ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuna Jr. will have a chance to show off his tremendous power when he participates in the 2019 T-Mobile Home Run Derby, which will be contested tonight at Cleveland’s Progressive Field (8 p.m. ET on ESPN).

Along with Acuna, this year’s Derby competitors are the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Astros’ Alex Bregman, the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, the Mets’ Pete Alonso, the Indians’ Carlos Santana, the Pirates’ Josh Bell and the A's Matt Chapman, who is replacing the injured Christian Yelich.

Seeded sixth, Acuna will battle Bell in the first round. The overall winner will receive $1 million.

The 21-year-old Acuna will be the youngest Braves player to start an All-Star Game next week. He and the 20-year-old Guerrero also have an opportunity to become the youngest player to ever win the Home Run Derby.

Yelich, Khris Davis (43) and Hunter Renfroe (43) are the only MLB players to hit more home runs than Acuna (39) dating back to last year’s All-Star break. The Braves’ center fielder has tallied 20 home runs thus far in 2019. Another strong second half would give him a chance to bid for a 40-homer season.

Per Statcast, Acuna entered Wednesday leading the Majors (min. 15 tracked homers) with an average home run distance of 421 feet. His 15.1 percent barrel rate ranked third among this year’s Derby competitors, trailing Alonso (18.1) and Yelich (17.2).