Juan Soto, one of the brightest young stars in in Major League Baseball, added to his already-lengthy resume on Monday night. The 23-year-old won the 2022 MLB Home Run Derby, knocking off Mariners rookie Julio Rodríguez in the finals. It’s the first Derby title for Soto, who currently has been the subject of numerous trade rumors since the weekend.
Rodríguez had a bit of a coming out party before running into Soto in the finals. He ended Mets star Pete Alonso‘s quest for a three-peat in the second round. Alonso had won the event in 2019 and 2021 (there was no Home Run Derby in 2020) and was looking to become the first player ever to win three Derbies in a row. Alonso, however, couldn’t match Rodríguez’s 31 homers.
But while the future stars shined at the end of the derby, it was a legendary performance by an MLB legend that really shined in the beginning.
Cardinals legend Albert Pujols stole the show. The 42-year-old, who was listed as the bottom seed in the derby, pulled off an absolutely stunning first-round upset of Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber, the top seed in the event.
Had it not been for the bonus time in the semi-finals, Pujols quite possibly could have advanced past Soto, who had 1:00 of bonus time as opposed to :30 for Pujols. Nevertheless, it almost was a passing of the torch, as one of the greatest of all time embraced with fans, players, and his fellow competitors after his elimination.
It was night filled with smiles, celebrations, and of course, home runs.
On to the All-Star Game we go!