The dream lineup of MLB sluggers for the 2022 Home Run Derby

Jul 12, 2021; Denver, CO, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso poses for photographs with bench coach Dave Jauss and the winners trophy following his victory in the 2021 MLB Home Run Derby. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 12, 2021; Denver, CO, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso poses for photographs with bench coach Dave Jauss and the winners trophy following his victory in the 2021 MLB Home Run Derby. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

On Monday, July 18, at Dodger Stadium, the 2022 Home Run Derby will be underway as part of MLB All-Star Game festivities. All eyes will be on New York Mets’ star first baseman Pete Alonso. Last year, Alonso won his second Home Run Derby in record fashion, totaling 74 dingers, the most of any hitter.

According to The New York Post, “Alonso outlasted the Orioles’ Trey Mancini, 23-22, doing his part to liven up a crowd of 49,098 that entered the ballpark hoping to see great things from Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani — who lost to the Nationals’ Juan Soto, 31-28, in double overtime.”

Can Alonso win his third title in 2022? Alonso will have a tall task, but with a collection of the league’s best sluggers, any one of them can put on a show.

As we close in on the 2022 Home Run Derby, which eight ideal sluggers will compete against Pete Alonso for his title?

National League’s best sluggers

Pete Alonso, Mets

2022 season stats: AVG: .273 (Ranked 48th) HR: 23 (Ranked 5th) RBI: 70 (Ranked 1st) OPS: .881 (Ranked 14th)

Can Alonso defend his title and become the second player, joining Ken Griffey Jr., to win three Home Run Derbies? After watching Alonso’s performance last year, I can’t see anyone stopping him this year. I truly believe he wants to go down in history as one of the best Home Run Derby participants ever. Who will step up and take his crown?

Will Smith, Dodgers

2022 season stats: AVG: .257 (Ranked 76th) HR: 13 (Ranked Tied-44th) RBI: 42 (Ranked Tied -59th) OPS: .799 (Ranked 50th)

Smith is the only hometown option that is healthy and has not participated in the Derby yet. Freddie Freeman participated when he was on the Braves and Cody Bellinger has participated in the past, but since he is having a down year, I don’t think swinging for the fences would be best. Mookie Betts would have been an excellent pick, but Betts is coming back from an injury, so the Dodgers probably won’t let him participate. Smith has plenty of power, hitting 25 homers in 414 at-bats last year. With an electrifying crowd, the fans might help carry Smith to the title.

Kyle Schwarber, Phillies

2022 season stats: AVG: .222 (Ranked 147th) HR: 28 (Ranked 2nd) RBI: 57 (Ranked 10th) OPS: .867 (Ranked 24th)

On July 9, Schwarber said he would consider participating in the Home Run Derby. Currently, Schwarber is ranked second in MLB with 28 home runs, sitting behind Aaron Judge with 30. The last time Schwarber was in the Derby was in 2018, finishing second, losing to Bryce Harper in the finals. Schwarber was voted the National League Player of the Month in June and he is currently on a hot streak. The Phillies haven’t had a player selected to the Home Run Derby since 2018, but his year that could change if Schwarber accepts the challenge.

Austin Riley, Braves

2022 season stats: AVG: .282 (Ranked 42nd) HR: 23 (Ranked 6th) RBI: 56 (Ranked18th) OPS: .907 (Ranked 13th)

Riley might have a rough time, if selected, in this year’s Home Run Derby. In the last two seasons, the Braves have knocked the Dodgers out of the playoffs, so you know the fans will be all over Riley during the derby. Many believe Ronald Acuña, Jr. would be the better choice, but he has already participated in the past. Also, coming off of a torn ACL last season, the extra rest might do him some good. Riley has a ton of power, hitting 33 home runs last year. Currently, Riley is on pace for 40 home runs and is having another stellar season. Riley would be a solid pick to participate in this year’s Home Run Derby.

American League’s best sluggers

Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Blue Jays

2022 season stats: AVG: .266 (Ranked 57th) HR: 19 (Ranked Tied-13th) RBI: 54 (Ranked Tied -14th) OPS: .829 (Ranked 31st)

Starting the season, Guerrero was hoping he would continue his hot streak from the 2021 season, but that is not the case. His numbers are solid, and he still can launch the ball like a few others in the sport. Also, watching his father win at a young age, might inspire him to take another crack at the Derby. I wouldn’t be surprised if Guerrero throws his name in the hat.

Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees

2022 season stats: AVG: .232 (Ranked 127th) HR: 21 (Ranked Tied-9th) RBI: 54 (Ranked Tied -14th) OPS: .817 (Ranked 42nd)

You would think Aaron Judge would be up for the challenge with his MLB league-leading 30 home runs, but Stanton is the only player that verbally showed interest in participating in this year’s Derby. Stanton has a ton of experience participating in the Home Run Derby, as he participated three times. He first appeared in 2014, as he was eliminated in the third round by Todd Frazier. His next appearance was in 2016, as he won the Derby, getting his revenge over Frazier. The following year, 2017, Stanton didn’t get out of the first round, losing to his ex-teammate Gary Sanchez. With all that experience, if selected, Stanton has to be the frontrunner to win the Derby.

Julio Rodríguez, Mariners

2022 season stats: AVG: .274 (Ranked 47th) HR: 15 (Ranked Tied-31st) RBI: 44 (Ranked Tied -46th) OPS: .811 (Ranked 43rd)

Rodriguez has made history this season, becoming the fastest player to reach 15 career home runs and 20 career steals. It is fascinating seeing Rodríguez develop into a young All-Star and what is better than showcasing those talents on a primetime stage? It would be great to see the one of MLB’s stolen base leaders win the Home Run Derby. The MLB might hold off on Rodríguez’s power for next year as the 2023 All-Star Game is in Seattle.

Mike Trout, Angels

2022 season stats: AVG: .268 (Ranked 59th) HR: 24 (Ranked 4th) RBI: 51 (Ranked Tied -20th) OPS: .967 (Ranked 6th)

When will Trout pull the trigger on the Home Run Derby? In 2019, according to CBS Sports, Trout said, “Maybe one year, I’ll say to myself, ‘hey, let’s do it.” He said it’s “probably” something he would “eventually” do.” Trout is 30 years old, and he is not getting any younger. The location is perfect, as there will be a ton of fans there in favor of him. It would be interesting to see if Trout and Ohtani battle it out against each other. With the Angels having another disappointing season, Angels fans need something to cheer about.

As July 18 slowly starts to approach, let’s see who decides to accept the challenge and participates in this year’s Home Run Derby. Stay tuned!

Next. Our latest MLB power rankings. dark

Note: All stats were entering Monday’s action.