The annual MLB All Star events begin in less than a week. The festivities begin on Monday night with the annual Home Run Derby where star players demonstrate their hitting skills by seeing how many balls they can hit over the reach in an attempt to surpass 500 feet.
The annual hitting fest features eight of the best hitters in Major League Baseball; so far six of the spots have been filled with a possible seventh spot taken depending on how American League manager Dusty Baker decides to use his pitching staff.
Home Run Derby players to date:
New York Mets’ “Polar Bear” Pete Alonso returns to not only defend his title, but is looking to make it a three-peat as the winner of the silver bat trophy. Alonso would match Ken Griffey Jr as the winner of the most Home Run Derby titles if he wins on Monday. In his previous two Derbies, Alonso has hit a total of 131 home runs – 35 of which set a record in round one of the 2021 Derby.
Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr is making his second visit as a participant in the Derby. During his first appearance in 2019, he hit a total of 44 homers; 10 of which went at least 450 feet.
After a seven year break, 42 year old Albert Pujols returns to the Home Run Derby for his fifth Derby. Returning to the St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols is in his final season as an MLB player. He is currently ranked fifth on the all time homers list with 684.
Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto returns for his second Derby appearance after edging out Shohei Ohtani in last year’s Derby including a record setting 520 foot home run at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado.
Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber will make his second Derby appearance. He currently leads the National League in home runs with 28. He was last in the Derby in 2018 where he made it to the finals before losing to Bryce Harper.
Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez will be making his Home Run Derby debut. The American League Rookie has shown his prowess with the bat by hitting a 450 foot home run in a game against the Miami Marlins on May 1. He is the 14th rookie to join the roster of Home Run Derby participants.
Depending on how he will be used in the game, the game’s only two way player Shohei Ohtani may join the Derby for a second year.