Home Run Derby: American Trio Will Swing For the Stars and Stripes

Pete Alonso of the New York Mets participates in the final round during the 2021 T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Coors Field on July 12, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

The 2023 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby will be Monday night in Seattle at T-Mobile Park, prior to the MLB All-Star Game Tuesday night. 

The Home Run Derby will start at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN.

Monday Night Home Run Derby First Round Matchups  
(1) Luis Robert Jr. (CWS) vs. (8) Adley Rutschman (BAL)
(2) Pete Alonso (NYM) vs. (7) Julio Rodríguez (SEA)
(3) Mookie Betts (LAD) vs. (6) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR)
(4) Adolis García (TEX) vs. (5) Randy Arozarena (TB)

The 93rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will take place at 8 p.m. EDT on FOX. 

Six of the eight players participating in the Home Run Derby Monday night are international, and the other players have had international baseball experience. This year, 269 international players started off the 2023 Major League Baseball Season on the 40-man roster of 30 organizations. 

Eleven international-born players have won the Home Run Derby in the history of the event. Ruben Sierra (Puerto Rico) was the first in 1989 to accomplish that feat. The other ten international born players are Juan Gonzalez (Puerto Rico) in 1993, Sammy Sosa (Dominican Republic) in 2000, Miguel Tejada (Dominican Republic) in 2004, Bobby Abreu (Venezuela) in 2005, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. (Dominican Republic) in 2007, Justin Morneau (Canada) in 2008, David Ortiz (Dominican Republic) in 2010, Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic) in 2011, Yoenis Cespedes (Cuba) in 2013 & 2014, and Juan Soto (Dominican Republic) in 2022.

Three of the participants – Mookie Betts, Adley Rutschman, and Pete Alonso – were born in the United States and have all played in international events with USA Baseball.

Adley Rutschman was named the 2018 College World Series Most Outstanding Player and helped Oregon State win their third national title in program history while he batted .408 in 67 games with nine home runs and 83 RBI in his sophomore season. 

In Rutschman’s junior season at Oregon State, he won the 2019 Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Award before being taken with the first overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2019 Major League Baseball Amatuer Draft. He hit .411 in 57 games with 266 plate appearances recording 76 hits, 10 doubles, 17 home runs, 58 RBI, and 76 walks as a college junior. 

Rutschman progressed rapidly through the Orioles farm system despite there not being a minor league season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Rutschman has played in 198 games at the Major League level since he made his debut on May 21, 2022. Last season, he played in 113 games, batting .254 with 470 plate appearances and 101 hits, 35 doubles, 13 home runs, 42 RBI, and 65 walks.  This season Rutschman, has played in 85 games with 378 plate appearances and is batting .270 with 87 hits, 13 doubles, 11 home runs, 37 RBI, and 54 walks. This will be the first MLB All-Star Game of his career. 

The last Baltimore Orioles player to win the Home Run Derby was Miguel Tejada in 2004.

Mookie Betts is playing in the seventh All-Star Game of his career Tuesday night in Seattle. Betts has a resume that has him on course to be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer when his career ends. 

A two-time World Series champion in 2018 with the Boston Red Sox and in 2020 during his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Betts was the American League Batting Champion in 2018 and the won the Most Valuable Player Award in the same season. 

He’s a five-time Silver Slugger Award Winner and six-time Gold Glove Award winner in his nine-year Major League career. 

Betts played for Team USA during the 2023 World Baseball Classic and helped them reach the championship game against Japan at loanDepot park in Miami. He batted .313 in seven games, scoring seven runs, smacking 10 hits, one double, and one RBI during the tournament. 

In the 2023 regular season, Betts has played in 86 games with 396 plate appearances, batting .276 along with a .964 OPS with 92 hits, 23 doubles, 26 home runs, 62 RBI, seven stolen bases, and 54 walks. 

Betts is hitting .292 lifetime with 1,398 hits, 239 home runs, 711 RBI, and has 165 stolen bases. No Los Angeles Dodgers player has ever won the Home Run Derby.

Pete Alonso was born in Tampa Bay and made a huge impact with Team USA during the 2023 World Baseball Classic, helping them reach the World Baseball Classic Championship Game. 

Selected in the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft with the 64th overall pick by the New York Mets, Alonso was signed by the Mets out of the University of Florida. 

Alonso won the Home Run Derby in 2019 and 2021 and is aiming for his third Home Run Derby title. Former Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has also won two Home Run Derbies, and Ken Griffey Jr. has won three, the most since the competition started in 1985. 

Alonso was also the first Mets player to win the Home Run Derby since Darryl Strawberry won it in 1986. He won the 2019 NL Rookie of the Year and was selected in his first All-Star game in the same season while playing in 161 games hitting .260 with 597 at-bats recording 155 hits, 30 doubles, 53 home runs, 120 RBI, and walking 72 times with having a .941 OPS.  

Alonso participated in the Home Run Derby for the third time in his career in 2022, and finished the year having played in 160 games, hitting .271 with 597 at-bats with 162 hits, 27 doubles, 40 home runs, 131 RBI, and 67 walks while having an .870 OPS. 

During the 2023 season, Alonso has played in 80 games, hitting .215 with 64 hits, 26 home runs, walking 33 times, and 61 RBI, claiming his second All-Star selection along with being the NL RBI Leader. 

During the 2022 Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium, Alonso hit 43 home runs in total, reaching the semifinals where he lost to Julio Rodriguez.  Alonso will swing off against Rodriguez in the first round of this year’s event.

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