The 2022 MLB All-Star Week in Los Angeles is finally here but before the biggest stars in baseball take the field on Tuesday night, eight of the league’s best sluggers will compete in the 2022 Home Run Derby on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

This year’s field is headed by New York Mets’ first baseman Pete Alonso who is looking to win a third consecutive Home Run Derby title and become the first player in MLB All-Star Week history to do so. Only one player has won the Home Run Derby three times and that was Ken Griffey Jr. in 1994,1998, and 1999.

Alonso’s path to victory is not easy. He will be facing Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. whom Alonso beat in the 2019 Home Run Derby semifinals on a buzzer-beating homer. Currency National League home run leader Kyle Schwarber is the top seed in the contest but is in the other half of the bracket. Schwarber’s first-round opponent is also no walk-in-the-park as he will face St. Louis Cardinals legend Albert Pujols who will break Barry Bonds’ record as the oldest Home Run Derby participant at the age of 42 years.

Let’s take a look at the important details of the 2022 Home Run Derby and make our predictions.

Baseball What is the Home Run Derby?

The Home Run Derby is the annual home run-hitting competition in Major League Baseball which is held during All-Star week. For the purpose of the competition, a home run is defined as hitting the ball in fair territory outside of the playing field on the fly. Unlike a home run that is hit during a regular game, the batter is not competing against the pitcher and opposing team. Instead, he is playing against another batter whom he is facing in a head-to-head matchup.

In the Home Run Derby, pitches are thrown at a slower speed and from a closer range than the official 60 feet and 60 inches distance. Usually, the pitch at the contest is thrown by a pitching coach behind a pitching screen. The batter remains in the batting box after hitting the ball and does not run, nor circle the bases to score a run.

Some notable performances in the contest include Bobby Abreu winning the Derby in 2005 with a then-record 41 home runs hit, including 24 in the opening round which back then was also a record. Abreu’s first round record was broken by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2019 when Vladdy send 29 balls out of the park.

Guerrero also owns the single competition record with 91home runs, also set in 2019. That total broke the previous mark of 61 set by Giancarlo Stanton in 2016. Meanwhile, Guerrero’s opening round record of 29 was erased by 2021 Home Run Derby winner Pete Alonso who had 35 in the first round last year. Guerrero however, still holds the record for most home runs in any round with 40 in the second round in 2019. Alonso holds the record for most home runs made in the history of the contest with 131

When is the 2022 Home Run Derby?

The 2022 Home Run Derby will be held on Monday, July 18th at 8:00 p.m. at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The event will be shown live via ESPN with a streaming option via WatchESPN

Baseball How is the 2022 Home Run Derby Won?

The 2022 Home Run Derby is a three-round single-elimination competition among 8 batters who will face each other head-to-head in a timed contest.

Contestants are given three minutes to hit as many home runs as possible in the first two rounds of the competition while in the ultimate round, the finalists are given two minutes each to out-homer each other.

Every competitor is awarded an extra 30 seconds after each regulation period with each hitter eligible to earn an additional 30 seconds for every home run that measures at least 475 feet during the regulation period of that round.

The clock can stop once in the first two rounds of the contest and twice in the finals.

Each player is also entitled to one 45-second time-out in each of the three rounds of the competition. In case of a tie, players are given a 60-second swing-off with no bonus time or stoppages.

Once a player passes his competition in a particular round, then the clock stops to signal the end of the round. Whoever has more home runs wins the head-to-head matchup and advances to the next round, until only one hitter is left standing and crowned as the winner.

The seeding is determined by the participants’ home run total through games played until July 13th. In case of a tie, their 2021 home run totals will determine who gets the higher seed.

After the cast of participants was named, these are the first round matchups:

1. Kyle Schwarber, Phillies vs. 8. Albert Pujols, Cardinals

4. Juan Soto, Nationals vs. 5. José Ramírez, Guardians

3. Corey Seager, Rangers vs. 6. Julio Rodríguez, Mariners

2. Pete Alonso, Mets vs. 7. Ronald Acuña, Jr., Braves

What does the Current Homerun Derby Odds board Look Like?

  • Pete Alonso: +200
  • Kyle Schwarber: +250
  • Ronald Acuña, Jr: +570
  • Juan Soto: +570
  • Julio Rodriguez: +900
  • Cory Seage: +1000
  • José Ramirez: +1500
  • Albert Pujols: +1900

***Odds as of 7/17/22 BetOnline

To come up with our pick on who wins the 2022 Home Run Derby, let us first make our predictions on who wins their respective first round assignments:

Kyle Schwarber (-340) vs Albert Pujols (+224)

Schwarber’s 29 home runs are the most in the National League with only the Yankees’ Aaron Judge ahead of him in the majors with 33 dingers. He is currently enjoying a career-best 7.5% home run percentage which should make him a favorite to win this event. Pujols’ 71 home runs in the history of the Derby are 8th most among all competitors but he has not joined this competition since 2015. Pujols has found success in a limited role with the Cardinals this season but at 42, he’s far from having found the Fountain of Youth. Schwarber is younger and looks to have more power right now.

Prediction: Kyle Schwarber

Pete Alonso (-238) vs Ronald Acuna Jr. (+166)

As stated earlier, this is a rematch of the 2019 Home Run Derby semifinals where Alonso beat Acuna at the buzzer. Alonso has won the Home Run Derby in each of the previous two seasons. He has hit a total of 130 home runs in 461 career MLB games played and an average of 1 home run in 6.6% of his plate appearance. Acuna has had limited plate appearance this season as he is coming off an injury. With an average of 1 home run in 3% of his at-bats this year, he’s definitely not the same hitter who nearly beat Alonso in 2019, at least not yet as he continues to get back in shape.

Prediction: Pete Alonso

Corey Seager (-116) vs Julio Rodriguez (-116)

Seager is the higher seed in this match-up but the odds are even and bet makers see this as a pick’em contest. Rodriguez is a mesmerizing player. He is one of the league’s young stars and has a powerful swing. However, Seager is having his best season ever with already 22 home runs at the All-Star break and will likely beat his career-best total of 26. With seven years played in Los Angeles, he knows this ballpark better. This should be a fun contest and I’ll take the higher-seeded player at the same price. Prediction: Corey Seager

Juan Soto ( -182) vs Juan Ramirez (+130)

Juan Soto was impressive in this contest last year as he ousted Shohei Ohtani and gave Alonso a run for his money. However, Ramirez at plus money odds is tantalizing even if critics say this is his first time to join the contest. This is a guy who has hit a total of 163 home runs since 2017 and has a home run percentage better than 5% in four out of his last five seasons. I’ll take the plus money here.

Prediction: Juan Ramirez

Seager will be an interesting opponent for Alonso in the second round. However, no one has hit more home runs in the history of this event than Pete Alonso. He’s proven himself in this content on more than one occasion. I think his experience in winning this contest will be the difference.

Whether it’s Ramirez or Schwarber who will face Alonso in the final, I’m putting my money on Alonso until proven otherwise. While Schwarber leads this field in home runs this season, Alonso’s 24 are second-most. Again when it’s time to face off, the experience of the two-time champion should be the key to winning the 2022 Home Run Derby.

Prediction: Pete Alonso to win the 2022 Home Run Derby +200

League of Derby Winner: American League( +260) vs National League (-359)

This one’s a safer bet, but at very much shorter odds. Three out of the four top seeds are from the National League, including the top two – no.1 seed Kyle Schwarber and no. 2 seed Pete Alonso. The highest seeded player from the AL is Corey Seger of the AL West’s Texas Rangers.

Alonso’s opponent Ronald Acuna is from the NL East’s Atlanta Braves while Schwarber’s opponent Albert Pujols is from the NL Cental’s St. Louis Cardinals. That means two out of the four semifinalists are guaranteed from the NL. It’s gotta be the National League here.

Prediction: National League

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