If Juan Soto already had plans to join the 2021 MLB HR Derby at the All-Star Game, he had a good poker face when he spoke with reporters after the Washington Nationals’ 22-year-old right fielder was announced as one of the team’s three representatives for the 91st addition of the Midsummer Classic.
Asked what he was looking forward to seeing in Coors Field in Colorado, Soto said, “I want to watch everything. I’m going to try to enjoy every moment of the game, the game, HR Derby, everything, I’m just going to try to enjoy, try to record as much as I can and save it for the future.”
This afternoon, however, Soto announced that he would not be watching the HR Derby, but participating in the event:
It's official... @MLB @Nationals #baseball #HRD #ASG #blessed #SotoShuffle ⚾️ ️ ️ pic.twitter.com/FtEBQSl5BY— Juan José Soto Pacheco (@JuanSoto25_) July 7, 2021
One positive for Soto? He’s not trying to hit home runs in Nationals Park, where he has hit just one of his 10 home runs overall on the year. Soto and the rest of the hitters in the HR Derby will be hitting in Denver’s mile high air this year.
IT'S HAPPENING!@JuanSoto25_ // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/XZziEmdBod— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 7, 2021
Soto enters a field that includes Shohei Ohtani, Pete Alonso, Trevor Story, Trey Mancini, Matt Olson, and Salvador Perez.
Do you have a reason to watch the HR Derby now, if Ohtani hitting bombs in Coors Field wasn’t enough for you?
MASN’s Mark Zuckerman stole the joke we had set for this spot:
Juan Soto is going to be in the Home Run Derby. Most guys worry it will screw up their swing. In Soto’s case, perhaps this will actually get him elevating the ball more consistently. https://t.co/ph7g6BJG7P— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 7, 2021
#ElevationWatch Oh, it’s on like Donkey Kong! Juan Soto is in the HR Derby. Who’s your pick to win it all?
Soto said he plans on bringing his family with him to the event, and he’ll have the nation’s capital behind him as he tries to become the second player from the Nationals to win one, after some other guy from D.C. won it in Nationals Park a few years ago.