Juan Soto to participate in Home Run Derby for second straight year

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 is one of three confirmed players in the derby. The others are Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols — a nod to the aging superstar in his final season — and Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. 

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

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