Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. and St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols will take part in the 2022 Home Run Derby. (The latter is according to Katie Woo.) Earlier on Monday, New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso announced that he was returning to the event once more with an eye on achieving a three-peat. Alonso would be the first player to ever win three in a row.
Acuña entered Monday hitting .274/.369/.433 (121 OPS+) with eight home runs in his first 53 games. It’s worth noting that he missed the onset of the season while recovering from the torn ACL that prematurely ended his 2021 campaign right ahead of that year’s All-Star Game. Acuña had previously participated in the 2019 Derby.
Pujols, who was named to the All-Star Game last week by Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, is expected to announce his retirement at season’s end. This, then, is an honorary nod to an inevitable Hall-of-Fame inductee. Pujols has hit .215/.303/.369 (94 OPS+) with five home runs in 48 contests. This will be his fifth career Derby, as he’s previously taken part in the 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2015 editions.
It’s unknown if Miguel Cabrera, the other veteran added to the All-Star Game by Manfred, will receive an invitation to step into the Derby field as well. MLB will need five more contestants either way in order to fill out the bracket. New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton recently hinted that he might partake in this year’s event. Stanton, who has 22 home runs this season, would seem to be an obvious candidate.
This year’s Derby is scheduled to take place on Monday, July 18, or a day before the All-Star Game. It will be hosted at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.