- The Washington Times
Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Juan Soto and the Nationals are hoping that history repeats itself this summer.

Last year, Soto had a slow first half of the season, only to participate in the Home Run Derby and then dominate opposing pitchers in the second half. Soto is again off to a slow start (by his elite standards) and is hoping for similar second-half success after taking part in another Home Run Derby.

The 23-year-old right fielder announced on Monday night that he would once again be smashing long balls at the Home Run Derby in Los Angeles next week. 

“Ready & excited to be part of the 2022 home run derby!! Get ready for the show,” Soto posted on Instagram. 

Soto, who has smashed 17 home runs this season, is also a reserve player for the National League team in the All-Star Game for his second career appearance in the midseason exhibition. 

Last year, Soto was the lowest seed in the derby at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, but defeated top-seeded Shohei Ohtani in the first round. The head-to-head matchup had two swing-offs to determine a winner, with Soto coming out on top before losing to Mets star Pete Alonso, who went on to defeat Baltimore’s Trey Mancini in the finals. 

Soto also set a Home Run Derby record, smashing a 520-foot blast — the longest home run in derby history, according to Statcast. 

Soto will joined in the derby by Alonso, former Nationals and current Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Kyle Schwarber, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr.  There were still three spots to fill as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Home Run Derby is scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday. 

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.