On Monday, Juan Soto won $1 million with a swing worth a lot more.
Soto beat a legend and a rookie to win the okbet Home Run Derby and the big money prize that came with it in front of a sold-out crowd at Dodger Stadium. He did this despite trade rumors that could have ruined his All-Star week.
After turning down a 15-year, $440 million contract extension from the Washington Nationals, Soto arrived in Los Angeles early Monday morning with an uncertain future before the August 2 trade deadline. He left without any trouble. When asked before the Derby if he thought he would win, Soto gave a typical answer: “Probably.” And he was right. He beat Albert Pujols in the semifinals and Julio Rodriguez in the finals, just like he said he would.
“I’m a lone survivor,” Soto said. “I’ve been through a lot, but I’m still here with my head held high and shoulders back. So you can see I can handle anything.”
In this case, “anything” meant spending a day answering questions he couldn’t possibly answer, like if the Nationals will trade him before the deadline on August 2 or where he might end up. He instead focused on his solid left-handed swing, which helped him hit balls to all fields and finish the finals with 19 home runs, compared to Rodrguez’s 18.
Soto won the Derby when he was a young
Soto won the Derby when he was 23 years and 266 days old. He was just one day older than Juan Gonzalez, who won the Derby in 1993.
The Derby was the latest episode of the J-Rod Show until the finals. Rodriguez, a 21-year-old outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, snuck up on the field and beat the two-time defending champion and 81 home runs on Monday night.
Rodriguez was the first batter of the night, and his first-round game against Corey Seager of the Texas Rangers placed the tone for the rest of the night. He hit 32 home runs. Then came Pete Alonso, a power hitter for the New York Mets who won the last two competitions in 2019 and 2021. In the semifinals, however, he could only hit 23 home runs, which was far less than Rodriguez’s 31.
Then he played Soto, who Rodriguez said he used to play Call of Duty games against. COD was more accessible for Rodriguez. Soto was better at HRD on Monday, at least.
“What did I show my followers?” Rodriguez said. “I guess I know who I am. They now know a bit more.”
Rodriguez is making the MLB minimum salary of $700,000 this year. As the runner-up, he got a $500,000 bonus.
Soto was a sure thing from the start
In the first round, he beat Jose Ramirez, the third baseman for the Cleveland Guardians. He beat Albert Pujols, who plays for the St. Louis Cardinals, in the semifinals. Pujols, 42 years old and in his last season, beat Kyle Schwarber, the No. 1 seed from Philadelphia, in the first round. He did this by beating him in extra innings. Soto’s first-round home run of 482 feet was the longest night, and he couldn’t keep up with him.
Soto said, “I wasn’t sure if I should beat him or let him beat me, but I have great admiration for him.” “Even though I beat him in the end, it was just a contest. He knows how proud I am of him, how talented he is, and how much advice he gives to all of us.”
Soto said that he would know one thing after this All-Star week, no matter where he ends up or whether he is traded before or after the deadline. Keep updated in okbet news for more informational facts and events.
He said, “I will always be the winner of the Home Run Derby.”
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