For the second time in his big league career, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will participate in the Home Run Derby at the MLB All-Star Game, the Blue Jays announced on Twitter and the player himself on Instagram. The Derby is set to take place on July 10th at T-Mobile Park, the home stadium of the Seattle Mariners.
Guerrero, 24, has been a home run-hitting machine since he debuted with the Blue Jays back in 2019 at the age of 20. He hit an MLB-leading 48 big flies in 2021 when he finished second in the AL MVP voting to Shohei Ohtani. He followed that up with 32 more in 2022 and has recorded 11 homers in 78 games in the current campaign.
Of course, fans will remember how things went for Vladdy the last time he tried his hand at the Derby. In 2019, he took the event by force as a rookie, setting the all-time record for most home runs in a single Derby with 91. That year, then-hitting coach John Schneider served as his personal pitcher, which will once again be the case for this year's Derby.
Despite this, he ultimately fell short and lost to Pete Alonso in the finals, with the score ending at 23-22. Guerrero's second round consisted of 40 home runs while competing against Joc Pederson, and his first round was against now-teammate Matt Chapman.
Guerrero has not participate in a Derby since that year, mostly by his own choosing. He has stated that he hasn't participated in another one since 2019 in an attempt to stay healthy and preserve his swing. Believe it or not, there are players in the past who have said that doing the Home Run Derby messed with their swings in the second half of the season.
Guerrero saw Alonso go on to win another Derby and then Juan Soto in 2022, and is now set to make his own triumphant return. He is one of just two players confirmed for this year's event, alongside Mariners outfielder Julio Rodríguez who has been having a down year at the plate but will still get a shot to represent the home team.