Randy Arozarena is one of baseball’s brightest stars, and is sure to make another impact next week in the 2023 Home Run Derby.
The eight sluggers set to square off at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN have been announced. The first-round matchups:
(1) Luis Robert Jr. vs. (8) Adley Rutschman
(2) Pete Alonso vs. (7) Julio Rodríguez
(3) Mookie Betts vs. (6) Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
(4) Adolis García vs. (5) Randy Arozarena
Note: The Home Run Derby seeds were determined by each player’s season home run total through July 4. For contestants with the same number of home runs, the tiebreaker was the most homers hit since June 15, which gives Robert the No. 1 seed over Alonso.
The number one seed is Luis Robert from the White Sox, who you may not have noticed has hit 25 homeruns thus far this year, the same as 2019 & 2021 winner Pete Alonso. According to ESPN, after rookie Reds sensation Elly De La Cruz declined an invitation, it was Robert’s fellow former countrymen Randy and Adolis who recruited him to fill the final spot.
In a twist of fate, it’s Randy and Adolis who will also square off in the first round, a matchup of best friends from their days as roommates in the St. Louis Cardinals system. (The Cardinals would go one to cut Adolis and trade Randy to the Rays...)
Some notes on the other participants:
- No catcher and no switch hitter has ever won the Derby, but that won’t stop Rutschman from giving it a try in his sophomore season!
- Betts is reportedly doing the Derby because his wife asked him to, but I think it’s funnier to imagine she was poking fun at him and he said, “oh I can win it! just you watch!”
- Vlad Jr. has the records for most homers hit in a Derby (90) or in a single round (40) but has yet to win it all!
The HR Derby is great, and I’m glad to have a Rays participant back back back back back in the event.