Mookie Betts leads the Los Angeles Dodgers in home runs so far this season with 26, which is also tied for third in Major League Baseball. But Betts is not considered a power hitter, mainly because he doesn’t look like one.
Betts only trails Shohei Ohtani, the 6’4, 210-pound two-way superstar for the Los Angeles Angels who has hit 32 homers; and the 6’5, 225-pound slugger from the Atlanta Braves in Matt Olson, who has blasted 29 long balls.
Only two players on the current top-10 MLB home run leaderboard are shorter than 6 feet tall and weigh less than 200 pounds: Betts and the Braves’ Ozzie Albies.
Despite his frame that’s not built for power, Betts is still among the right players participating in the 2023 Home Run Derby.
The 30-year-old has admitted he doesn’t hit for much power in batting practice, and his main goal is to just not finish last in the Home Run Derby, via SportsNet LA:
“I’m 5’9, 170 pounds. I don’t think many guys my size win the Home Run Derby. When I told my mom, she wasn’t too thrilled. She told me, ‘I didn’t raise you to come in last.’ So the goal now is not to come in last.”
Betts also revealed his wife Brianna pushed him into competing, saying it was one thing he’s yet to check off on his baseball accomplishment bucket list.
Betts is set to face Toronto Blue Jays’ young star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the first round, which should present him with a difficult matchup.
Gurrero Jr. holds the record for most home runs hit in a single derby with 91, including 40 in the second round, which he achieved in 2019.
If Betts advances to the second round, he would face the winner of the matchup between two-time champion Pete Alonso of the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez. That presents no rest for Betts either, as Rodriguez (81, 2022) and Alonso (74, 2021) are second and third in most long balls during a single Home Run Derby.
The Home Run Derby at T-Mobile Park in Seattle is Monday, July 10, at 5 p.m. PT and will be televised exclusively by ESPN.
Betts will become the 10th Los Angeles Dodgers player to compete in the event, and it’s the 13th time the Dodgers are represented. He joins Mike Piazza (1993, 1994), Rául Mondesi (1995), Hee-Seop Choi (2005), Matt Kemp (2011, 2012), Yasiel Puig (2014), Pederson (2015, 2019), Corey Seager (2016), Cody Bellinger (2017) and Max Muncy (2018).
None of them went on to win, although Pederson did make it to the finals in 2015.