LOS ANGELES – Albert Pujols will have a chance to add to a special sendoff season Monday night during the 2022 Home Run Derby.
Pujols will compete in the mid-summer event for the fifth time over his 22-year MLB career. The Cardinals legend is making a push for his first-ever derby crown.
“It’s pretty awesome and I’m pretty blessed to be able to do it,” Pujols told Bally Sports Midwest last week. “Hopefully I can put on a good show for the fans.”
Now in his 12th season and second stint with the Cardinals, Pujols joined this year’s derby after making the National League All-Star team as a legacy selection by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. He will have a chance for spotlight in the derby and All-Star Game this weekend at Dodger Stadium, his home ballpark for part of the 2021 season.
Pujols has only six round-trippers this season, the lowest among this year’s derby field. However, his 685 career home runs are the fifth most of all-time and most among anyone upon entering a Home Run Derby event.
When and how to watch
ESPN will carry the broadcast for this year’s Home Run Derby. The event will begin at 7 p.m. CT on Monday, July 18. ESPN2 will offer Statcast-powered analysis of the event as it unfolds.
The broadcast will be available on several cable and live TV providers that partner with ESPN, including but not limited to DIRECTV STREAM, YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV and others.
This year’s derby field
Pujols will enter this year’s event ranked as an eight-seed, due to him having the lowest home run count among participants this year. He will take on the top seed of the event in Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber, who leads the National League with 28 home runs.
Many will have their eyes on New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso, who will battle for his third straight crown after derby titles in 2019 and 2021.
The first-round matchups will consist of the following:
(No. 8) Albert Pujols, STL vs. (No. 1) Kyle Schwarber, PHI
(No. 4) Juan Soto, WSH vs. (No. 5) Jose Ramirez, CLE
(No. 3) Corey Seager, TEX vs. (No. 6) Julio Rodriguez, SEA
(No. 2) Pete Alonso, NYM vs. (No. 7) Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL
2022 derby rules
The Home Run Derby consists of three single-elimination rounds. In each bracket, the higher seed will hit last in their matchup.
Sluggers have three minutes per round in the first and second rounds and two minutes in the final round. The clock starts with the release of the first pitch, and the round ends when the timer strikes zero. A homer will count so long as the pitch was released prior to the timer hitting zero. Players can choose to take one timeout each round.
If the second player in a given round exceeds the home run total of his opponent, the round will automatically end. The winner of the Pujols-Schwarber matchup will take on the winner of the Soto-Ramirez matchup. The victor of Alonso-Acuna will face the victor of Seager-Rodriguez. Home runs totals will reset to zero after each round.
A player can earn up to 60 seconds of extra time each round if they meet specific bonuses, though timeouts cannot be called during bonus periods. Ties in any round will be broken by a 60-second swing-off with no stoppage of time. If a tie remains after the swing-off, batters will engage in successive three-swing swing-offs until there is a winner.
Pujols’ derby history
- 2003 (U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago): Pujols reached the final round with 18 home runs, but was outslugged, 9-8, by Anaheim Angels’ outfielder Garret Anderson in the championship round. To date, it’s the closest Pujols has ever come to a title.
- 2007 (AT&T Stadium, San Francisco): Pujols picked up 13 home runs through two rounds, but was just edged out by Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Vladimir Guerrero and Toronto Blue Jays’ outfielder Alex Rios.
- 2009 (Busch Stadium, St. Louis): Pujols entertained the hometown crowd, smacking 11 home runs over two rounds. Milwaukee Brewers’ first baseman Prince Fielder won the event.
- 2015 (Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati): Pujols competes in a new derby format for the first time, again advancing to the second round. Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Joc Pederson edged him out, 12-11, in the second round. Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier won the event.
Incentive for fans?
As Pujols prepares for his fifth and final derby, the Cardinals have announced a special offer through which fans could get discounts – or possibly free tickets – to an upcoming series.
For every round the Pujols advances on Monday, fans can take $5 off specially-priced $15 Field Box tickets for a home series against the Colorado Rockies on August 16-18.
If Pujols advances to the semifinals, tickets will lower down to $10. If Pujols advances to the final round, tickets will be $5. And if Albert wins the Home Run Derby, the team will give away 5,555 free tickets for fans over the course of the three-game series versus Colorado.
A limited number of these specially-priced Pujols “Derby Deal” tickets will be available on the morning after the derby, Tuesday, July 19 at 10 a.m. Fans can purchase tickets, or possibly claim free ones if Pujols wins, by visiting the St. Louis Cardinals website or calling 314-345-9000.