Back-to-back champ Pete Alonso to open 2022 MLB Home Run Derby with Ronald Acuna Jr. rematch

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Friday, July 15, 2022

Gunning for history, back-to-back champion Pete Alonso will start his pursuit of a third title as the No. 2 seed in the 2022 Home Run Derby on Monday night at Dodgers Stadium.

The New York Mets star will face No. 7 seed Ronald Acuna Jr. in a rematch from their tilt in the second round of the 2019 Home Run Derby. Alonso hit a buzzer-beating homer to eliminate Acuna en route to the first of his Derby wins.

Alonso, who has hit 23 homers this season and leads the National League with 72 RBIs, is just the third player in history to have won back-to-back Derby titles. A third win would tie him with Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. for the most ever.

National League home run leader Kyle Schwarber is the top seed at the event and will face off against future Hall of Famer and No. 8 seed Albert Pujols.

Schwarber, who has hit 28 homers this season, is making his second appearance in the Derby. He came in second to now-teammate Bryce Harper in 2018.

A Derby veteran, Pujols is participating in his fifth event, although he's only ever reached the finals once. Pujols is fifth in MLB history with 684 homers and has hit six so far this season in his return to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager comes in as the No. 3 seed and will face Seattle Mariners rookie and No. 7 seed Julio Rodriguez.

Seager, who has bashed 21 home runs this season for the Texas Rangers, is participating in his first Derby since his rookie year in 2016. Rodriguez, who has hit 15 homers during his sterling rookie campaign, will try to join Alonso and Aaron Judge as the only rookies to outright win the Derby.

Finally, Cleveland Guardians star Jose Ramirez will be making his long-awaited Derby debut as the No. 5 seed against No. 4 seed Juan Soto.

Soto is coming off a Derby debut in 2021 that saw him upset No. 1 seed Shohei Ohtani in a matchup that came down to a swing-off. He also hit the longest home run ever recorded at the Derby, a 520-foot shot. Ramirez is in the midst of another stellar season; he's hit 17 homers and leads the American League with 68 RBIs.

Each batter will have three minutes in the first two rounds to hit more home runs than their opponent before a two-minute final round. The winner will get $1 million of $2.5 million in prize money, the losing finalist will collect $500,000 and the six other participants will earn $150,000 apiece. The player with the longest home run will get an extra $100,000.

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