Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Makes History with Home Run Derby Victory


Vladimir Guerrero Jr. won the 2023 Home Run Derby at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, making the slugger from the Toronto Blue Jays a part of the first father and son duo to win the popular contest.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr
2023 Home Run Derby champion Vladmir Guerrero, Jr., first baseman from the Toronto Blue Jays, poses with the winner’s trophy in Seattle. (Image: AP)

Guerrero Jr. entered this year’s Home Run Derby as the second favorite on DraftKings’ prop betting board at +370 odds. Two-time champion Pete Alonso from the New York Mets was the consensus favorite at +320 odds.

When my family pushes me to do something, usually good things happen,” said Guerrero, Jr. who last participated in the derby in 2019.

Guerrero Jr. put on a hitting clinic at the 2019 Home Run Derby when he crushed 91 home runs during the contest. But he lost to Alonso in the final round.

Vladimir Guerrero won the 2007 Home Run Derby during MLB’s All-Star festivities at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The elder Guerrero played right field for the Anaheim Angels during the 2007 season.

Over a 16-season career that spanned four teams, Guerrero smacked 449 home runs and drove in 1,496 RBI, with a slashline of .318/.379/.553. In 2018, Guerrero was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.

First Round: J-Rod Sets Record with Onslaught

Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman was the #8 seed, but the switch hitter demonstrated power by hitting 27 home runs from both sides of the plate. Chicago White Sox centerfielder Luis Robert Jr. lived up to his #1 seed when he hit 28 home runs to advance to the semifinals.

Alonso sought revenge on Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez, who knocked him out of last year’s derby. As the #2 seed, Alonso could never get any rhythm going and hit only 21 home runs. Rodriguez had the #7 seed, but the effervescent 22-year-old fed off the energy from his hometown crowd during a jaw-dropping performance. Rodriguez set a new derby record with 41 home runs in the first round. For the second year in a row, Rodriguez knocked out two-time champion Alonso.

I unfortunately ran into a buzz saw,” said Alonso. “He had a ridiculously historic round. That was incredible to watch.”

Mookie Betts from the Los Angeles Dodgers had the #3 seed, but he was the only lower seed to enter the first round as an underdog. Betts was +170 odds to win his round against #6 Guerrero Jr., who was a sizable favorite at -205 odds. In the first round, Betts belted only 11 home runs. Guerrero Jr. easily advanced to the next round with 26 home runs.

In the battle of two close friends and fellow Cubans, #5 Randy Arozarena from the Tampa Bay Rays squared off against #4 Adolis Garcia from the Texas Rangers. Garcia was the favorite to win the round, but he struggled with only 17 home runs. After a slow start, Arozarena tallied 24 home runs to advance to the next round.

Semifinals: Arozarena Goes Off, J-Rod Gassed

Heading into the semifinals, Rodriguez was the new betting favorite to win the Home Run Derby at +100 odds, or even money. He was ahead of Roberts (+280), Guerrero Jr. (+290), and Arozarena (+600).

Rodriguez knew he needed a big opening round if he wanted to defeat Alonso, so he went full gas during his 41-dinger barrage in the first round. He looked a bit tired in the second round and connected on only 20 home runs. Guerrero needed just 21 home runs to advance to the finals and knock out the young Dominican.

I wanted to live in the moment,” said Rodriguez. “Kind of be able to give a show to the Mariners fans and just give it my all. For that second round, I was just … gassed … but it was fun. It was fun.”

Rodriguez was the runner-up last year when he lost to Juan Soto in the final round of the 2022 Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium.

On the other side of the bracket, Arozarena defeated Robert to advance to the finals. Robert hit 22 home runs in the semifinals, which wasn’t even close to Arozarena’s second-round bombardment. Arozarena caught fire and connected on 35 home runs in the semifinals. It was the second-most homers in this year’s contest, and Arozarena locked up a spot in the finals against Guerrero.

HR Derby Finals: Guerrero Outslugs Arozarena

The final matchup included one of the betting favorites and one of the underdogs. Guerrero Jr. was +370 odds coming into the derby as the second favorite, and Arozarena was the second-highest underdog on the board at +1100 odds. At the start of the semifinals, Arozarena was an underdog once again among the final four at +600 odds.

Guerrero finished this year’s derby with 72 home runs, with his manager, John Schneider, pitching to him. His home run total for the entire contest was set at 44.5 over/under, and Guerrero easily hit the over.

Arozarena connected on 82 total home runs, but couldn’t outduel Guerrero in the final round. Oddsmakers installed Arozarena’s total at 28.5 over/under, and the over easily hit.

“I feel tired,” explained Guerrero, Jr. after the final round. “But I feel happy.”

Guerrero was at the ballpark in San Francisco during his father’s victory in 2007, but he was only eight years old at the time.

I don’t remember much about 2007,” said Guerrero, Jr. “I feel very happy, very proud that my father and I both won the Derby.”

According to a DraftKings prop bet, Guerrero Jr defeating Arozarena in the finals paid out +1100 odds. If Arozarena pulled off the upset over Guerrero Jr., that prop bet would’ve paid out +4000 odds.

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