SEATTLE — Now two generations of Vladimir Guerreros have won the Home Run Derby.
On a night that Julio Rodriguez put on a record-setting show in front of a hometown crowd, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. won the night, ousting Rodriguez and beating Randy Arozarena in the finals to capture the Home Run Derby.
In 2007, when Guerrero Jr. was 8 years old, his father, Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, won the Derby at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The young Guerrero had to overcoming a crowd of 46,952 at T-Mobile Park that Rodriguez sent into a frenzy with his first-round performance against two-time champion Pete Alonso. With the crowd chanting his name, Rodriguez, the 22-year-old Seattle Mariners outfielder, set a Derby record with 41 home runs in the first round.
The eventual outcome closely mirrored 2019, when Guerrero set the previous single-round record of 40 home runs, only to lose to Alonso in the finals. This time, the sixth-seeded Guerrero handily beat Mookie Betts in the first round, dispatched a worn-down Rodriguez in the second and took out Arozarena in the finals.
With 25 home runs in the last round, Guerrero’s lead looked in jeopardy when Arozarena hit 21 homers before his final 30 seconds of bonus time. In it, Arozarena managed just two, prompting a Guerrero celebration.
The 24-year-old Guerrero totaled 72 home runs, the fourth-highest total in a Derby – and shy of the 91 he hit in 2019. Still, Guerrero coming out on top was almost secondary to him beating Rodriguez, whose performance had his competitors in awe.
“I thought I put on a good show and just unfortunately ran into a buzzsaw,” said Alonso, who hit 22 home runs to Rodriguez’s 41. “He had a ridiculously historic round. I mean, that was incredible to watch. Good for him and good for Seattle.”
Using a yellow-painted bat that stung balls with the precision of the bumblebee it resembled, Rodriguez hit more than 3 miles of home runs in the round – 16,556 feet total. On a night of memorable moments, Rodriguez reminded the home crowd why the Mariners regard him as the centerpiece of their franchise.
Another young star, Adley Rutschman, put on a memorable performance of his own — and also ended up on the wrong side. In the first round, the Baltimore Orioles catcher hit 20 home runs from the left side only to switch to the right side for his bonus time, when he hit seven more. Rutschman is believed to be the first switch hitter in Derby history to swing from both sides of the plate, but top-seeded Luis Robert beat him with 28 homers.