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ESPN calls Luis Robert Jr. ‘ideal’ for Home Run Derby

ESPN calls Luis Robert Jr. ‘ideal’ for Home Run Derby originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Ahead of the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby, ESPN took to showcasing each participant, giving reasons as to why they would or wouldn’t win the competition.

For Luis Robert Jr., they underlined his breakout season, so far, while calling him an “ideal” home run derby candidate.

“Robert is in the midst of a breakout year as he has turned his massive tools into big-time production, highlighted by his 25 home runs in just half of a season. Standing 6-foot-2, 220 pounds with light-tower power , Robert seems like an ideal Home Run Derby competitor,” ESPN wrote.

Robert has greatly impressed from the plate this season. He has the third-most home runs in MLB and the third-best slugging percentage. Ever since he broke his slump in April, hitting .310 in May and 11 home runs in June, he’s kept the fire burning.

On the flip side, his average home run distance this season (406 feet) is 64th in MLB. His average velocity (89.1) is also an underwhelming figure. White Sox fans are well aware of his tendency to chase balls, too.

Fortunately, when it comes to the Home Run Derby, his chase rate doesn’t play much of a factor.

Robert Jr. will face Adley Rutschman in the first round, then the winner of Randy Arozarena and Adolis Garcia, both of whom convinced Robert Jr. to participate in the competition.

“I talked with a couple of my countrymen,” Robert Jr. said through translator Billy Russo on Wednesday. “They convinced me. Randy (Arozarena) and Adolis (García) and then I said, ‘You know what? Let’s do it.'”

The other participants joining Robert Jr. include Pete Alonso, Mookie Betts, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Julio Rodríguez. The derby takes place in Seattle on July 10 at T-Mobile Park. Robert Jr. will make his All-Star and Derby debut.

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