Luis Robert Jr. says Randy Arozarena, Adolis García convinced him to do Home Run Derby originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Luis Robert Jr. surprisingly announced his participation in the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby on his Instagram on Wednesday. How did his original skeptics on the tournament turn around?
“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.'”
Robert Jr. joins a loaded cast, including his friend, Arozarena, Pete Alonso, Mookie Betts, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Julio Rodríguez and Adley Rutschman. One more member in the tournament has yet to be announced.
What will it be like for Robert Jr. to play against his friends and fellow Cuban native in Arozarena?
“That’s why I told him ‘Can you imagine playing each other in the first round?’ It will be fun,” Robert Jr. she said.
Robert Jr. will also participate in the All-Star game as the White Sox representative.
Many White Sox fans clamored for Jake Burger to participate in the home run derby. But to the victor, apparently, goes the spoils. And Robert’s been the winner for the White Sox this season.
Robert Jr. is a well-deserving candidate for the tournament. He’s hit 25 home runs this season, the third-most in MLB, and second-most in the American League trailing only Shohei Ohtani. His .580 slugging percentage this season also equates to MLB’s third-best value.
His average home run distance this season is 406 feet, according to Baseball Savant’s Statcast graphic. That slots 64th in the majors. His hardest-hit ball came off his bat at 113.6 miles per hour, which ranks in the top 50 for hardest-hit balls this year.
On July 4th, Robert launched a 450-foot home run against the Blue Jays that flew 111+ miles per hour off his bat. He stuck around in the batter’s box to boast his left-field blast, underscoring the incredible hitting run he’s strung together. Robert Jr. hit 11 home runs in June, tied for second-most in MLB.
When asked about his celebratory pause in the box, Robert Jr. couldn’t quite pinpoint his impromptu celebration.
“It’s the first time I did something like that,” Robert Jr. she said. “Even when I got back to the dugout, Eloy asked, ‘Hey, what happened?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know. It was just a reaction.’ I don’t know how I did it or why I did it.”
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