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Elephant Rumblings: Juan Soto wins 2022 Home Run Derby

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MLB: Home Run Derby Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Happy All-Star Game Tuesday, Athletics Nation!

While Julio Rodríguez hit a total of 81 homers in the Derby last night, the Nationals’ Juan Soto won the MLB Home Run Derby title in 2022. Soto bested the Guardians’ Jose Ramírez and future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols in rounds one and two respectively. Rodríguez also put on a show to make it to the finals, as the Mariners’ rookie was the first player to have 30+ homers in multiple rounds of the Derby.

Julio started off the show with a bang in an AL West face off, hitting 32 homers to Corey Seager’s 24. This would end up being the highest scoring round across the whole Derby with a combined 56 homers. Returning derby champ Pete Alonso narrowly beat out Ronald Acuña Jr. with a 20-19 NL East focused round. Some of the biggest theatrics came when top seed Kyle Schwarber tied Pujols in their round’s bonus time, meaning that it came down to a swing-off between the Phillies’ and Cards’ sluggers. Pujols managed to edge out Schwarber, as Kyle could not catch up to The Machine’s seven extra-round runs. In the second round Rodríguez bounced the two-time champ Alonso, in a 31-23 round, and Soto was able to surpass Pujols’ 15 before his time had even expired.

Part of Soto’s win came down to the fact that Rodríguez did not earn the optional 30 seconds of bonus time available to players that hit two dingers farther than 440 feet. Soto got the full bonus minute, and won with around 15 seconds left on the clock. A full bonus round for Julio could have been the difference maker down the line.

Soto’s win follows the 23-year-old outfielder turning down a $440M extension offer from the Nats over the weekend. This has set into motion the Nationals listening to offers on Soto. Trading Soto was an idea that was implausible before now, as the Dominican talent was the face of the team, helping the Nats win the World Series in 2019. With the trade deadline now 14 days away, we could see a frenzy of movement as potential contenders shoot for two-and-a-half seasons of Soto and the next chance to extend him.

Next year the Derby, along with the All-Star game, will take place at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. This primes a rematch against Rodríguez on his home turf. We’ll see how the balls land a year from now, but tomorrow both finalists are rostered in the 2022 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.

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