The 2023 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby will be held on Monday July 10th at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. One of the eight contestants will be Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts who has been among the National League’s home run leaders this season.
Betts hit a career high 35 home runs in 2022 and he is already on pace to surpass that total in 2023. Betts also continues to climb the list of all-time career leadoff home runs, his total 45 home runs from his team’s first plate appearance of the game is already eighth all-time.
Dodgers in the Home Run Derby
|1993||Mike Piazza||0||8th of 8|
|1994||Mike Piazza||0||8th of 8|
|1995||Raul Mondesí||2||t-5th of 8|
|2005||Hee-seop Choi||5||1st-rd loss|
|2011||Matt Kemp||2||1st-rd loss|
|2012||Matt Kemp||1||1st-rd loss|
|2014||Yasiel Puig||0||1st-rd loss|
|2015||Joc Pederson||39||lost in finals|
|2016||Corey Seager||15||1st-rd loss|
|2017||Cody Bellinger||27||2nd-rd loss|
|2018||Max Muncy||29||2nd-rd loss|
|2019||Joc Pederson||60||2nd-rd loss|
Given those credentials, how will Betts match up with previous Dodger entrants in this mid-season competition? Let’s take a look at the Dodger history in this contest to have some idea of how many home runs to represent Dodger Blue well next Monday.
The Home Run Derby was first introduced at the 1985 All-Star Game at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The first Dodger to participate in this competition was catcher Mike Piazza who was entered in both the 1993 and 1994 Derbies. Failing to homer in either year, Piazza is one of two Dodgers to fail to clear the fence in a Home Run Derby.
Piazza’s teammate and fellow National League Rookie of the Year, Raul Mondesi, was the next Dodger to participate in the Derby. In 1995, Mondesi hit two home runs for the National League’s losing effort in the competition.
It would be 10 years before another Dodger was picked to be in the Home Run Derby. That season, MLB had an international theme for the contest and Dodger first baseman Hee-seop Choi represented both South Korea and the Dodgers in the 2005 Home Run Derby. Choi would become the first Dodger to not finish with the fewest home runs as his five home runs was tied for fifth out of eight competitors.
In what would be his best season as a Dodger, outfielder Matt Kemp competed in the 2011 Home Run Derby. However, despite his fine regular season, Kemp’s two home runs would finish last in that year’s event.
Kemp also participated in 2012 even though he was on the injured list with a hamstring injury at the time. He hit one home run this time, and didn’t get out of the first round.
Outfielder Yasiel Puig was the next Dodger to compete in annual event as he was invited to compete in the 2014 Home Run Derby. Puig joined Mike Piazza as the only Dodgers to not hit a single home run in the competition.
In 2015, the most successful Dodger to date participated in his first Home Run Derby. In the first year of the new, bracketed format, outfielder Joc Pederson hit 13 home runs and won his first round matchup. Pederson then beat Albert Pujols and is the only Dodger to reach the finals of the event. And while Pederson lost by one home run to Todd Frazier, his second-place finish remains the best any Dodger has done in the Derby.
Corey Seager played in the 2016 Home Run Derby and hit 15 home runs in the first round but lost by one to Mark Trumbo.
Cody Bellinger was the third straight Dodger rookie to participate in the annual event and in 2017, Bellinger reached the second round where he lost to eventual winner Aaron Judge.
Max Muncy continued this run of Dodger competitors as he was one of the competitors in the 2018 Home Run Derby. Muncy defeated Javier Báez in the first round and then lost to Bryce Harper in Round 2.
In 2019, Joc Pederson made his second appearance for the Dodgers in the Home Run Derby. In that year’s contest, Pederson would hit a total of 60 home runs, including 39 homers in the second round, the second-most in any round in Derby history. But he fell short that round to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s 40 long balls, which remains one the Derby’s most memorable moments.
Betts becomes the first Dodger to compete in the 2020s in the Home Run Derby and when his participation was confirmed, Betts told the media he had one goal for next Monday, not to finish last.
“The goal now is not to come in last.” Mookie Betts confirms he’s participating in the Home Run Derby after being selected as an All-Star today. pic.twitter.com/IaX0dmZ0kh— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 29, 2023
Since at least one Dodger who finished last is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Betts should not worry about his legacy no matter where he finishes. But he can also become the first Dodger to win this competition, so he’ll have that to aim for in Seattle on Monday.