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Juan Soto upsets Julio Rodriguez to win 2022 MLB Home Run Derby

It just wasn’t meant to be.

Despite having a Home Run Derby for the record books, mighty Seattle Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez was toppled in the final round by Juan Soto.

The Washington Nationals slugger, meanwhile, showed the world why he’s worth every penny of a $500-million deal smoking 19 home runs in the final round.

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As great as the comeback was for Soto, Rodriguez stole the show with a performance for the ages.

The rookie Seattle Mariner blew the doors off the derby cruising through the first two rounds.

Rodriguez bested Texas Ranger Corey Seager in the first round 32 to 24, then blasted another 31 in round two to beat two-time champion Pete Alonso.

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Through two rounds, J-Rod totaled 63 home runs becoming the first to ever have two 30-run rounds in the history of the derby. Safe to say he, and his pitcher Franmy Pena, were absolutely dialed in.

Come the finals, you could see some fatigue setting in, but Rodriguez still managed to put up 18 dongs. Soto, meanwhile, had a slow start, but turned it on in the end taking it to extra time to hit his 19.

In total, Rodriguez smoked 81 home runs through all three rounds — 10 back of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who in 2019 smoked 91 (!) homers, but lost to Pete Alonso in the finals.

One has to wonder if this whole thing needs to be rejigged considering those performances.

Round one

The derby got started off in a big way as Julio Rodriguez stepped up to the plate mashing 32 dingers right off the top. He topped up  opponent Corey Seager, who still managed to jack 24 over the wall. In fact, if Seager had faced anyone else in round one, his night wouldn’t of been over as soon as it was.

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Second up was Ronald Acuna Jr. taking on Pete Alonso. The former went first and he struggled to find his rhythm despite putting up a respectable 19 home runs. Alonso came second and one-upped Acuna to move onto the second round.

Jose Ramirez matched up against Juan Soto third, with the Guardians third baseman hitting just 17 home runs. He too struggled to get any momentum going, and Soto was able to one up him.

Hilariously, Albert Pujols managed to beat out Kyle Schwarber in the final matchup. Pujols put up 13 home runs, and Schwarber hit just as many batting second. It went to overtime, where Pujols put up seven more home runs while Schwarber hit six more.

Round Two

The show went on, and boy, did it ever.

J-Rod went first up against Pete Alonso in the second round, and there was no stopping the young Mariner. He crushed 31 (!) home runs, and as much as Alonso tried, he just couldn’t match him all the while putting up an admirable 24.

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How special was Rodriguez’s first two round run? According the the MLB’s Sarah Langs, he became the first player ever to record two 30-run rounds in the same derby. In the past, there had only been four 30-round runs in history — one of which being Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s 40 homer round in the 2019 derby.

The second matchup saw Pujols square up against Soto, with the former taking the plate first. Pujols managed to put up 15 homers, and Soto bested him by one in bonus time.


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]


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