Juan Soto Edges Julio Rodriguez To Win 2022 Home Run Derby
LOS ANGELES -- Juan Soto won $1 million on Monday with a swing that is worth plenty more.
After recently turning down a 15-year, $440 million contract extension from the Washington Nationals, Soto arrived in Los Angeles early Monday morning with his future in doubt ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline. He emerged unbothered.
When asked before the Derby whether he was going to win it, his answer was characteristically Soto: "Probably." And on that prediction he came through, vanquishing Albert Pujols in the semifinals and Julio Rodriguez in the finals.
"I'm a lone survivor," Soto said. "I've been going through all this stuff, and I'm still here standing up and with my chin up, all the time. And that shows you I can go through anything."
Anything, in this case, included a day of answering questions he can't possibly answer, including whether the Nationals will trade him before the Aug. 2 deadline or where he might wind up. Soto instead worried about his powerful left-handed swing, shooting balls to all fields and finishing the finals with 19 home runs to the 18 of his Dominican Republic countryman Rodríguez.
At 23 years, 266 days old, Soto became the second-youngest Derby champion -- just a day older than 1993 winner Juan Gonzalez.