Teoscar Hernández becomes sneaky winner pick with earnest Home Run Derby announcement

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers
Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Shohei Ohtani's confirmation that he wouldn't participating in the Home Run Derby this year was a disappointment for fans who would've liked to see him get another shot at it after going out in the first round in 2021, but luckily, the Dodgers had two more prime candidates to represent LA on their roster.

Out of the Dodgers' five position player All-Stars, only four will actually be able to play. Ohtani bowed out, Mookie Betts has a broken hand, so that leaves Will Smith, Teoscar Hernández, and Freddie Freeman.

Freeman's game is more about doubles than it is home runs, but Smith and Hernández's 19 and 15 homers make them the Dodgers' No. 2 and 3 power hitters, and both have made powerful statements in support of their contention in the Derby this season. Smith homered in four straight at-bats from July 5 through 6, and Hernández has been showing up all season, but a three-homer, nine-RBI series against the Yankees in June certainly stands out.

It'll be Hernández getting his first shot, which he confirmed while mic'd up against the Phillies on Wednesday night. He said, "[Participating in the Derby] was gonna be huge for me. [...] Why not try to win everything?"

Teoscar Hernández confirms he'll represent Dodgers in the Home Run Derby while mic'd up on ESPN

No Dodger has ever won the Home Run Derby since it began in 1985. Joc Pederson hit the third highest number of homers in a single round in 2019 with 39, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. did him one better to advance to the finals. Pederson is also tied with Juan Soto for the fifth most all-time home runs in the Derby with 99.

Last year, Guerrero reigned supreme with 25 to Randy Arozarena's 23, but he won't be there to defend his title this season. Instead, Hernández will face off against Pete Alonso, Alec Bohm, Adolis García, Gunnar Henderson, Marcell Ozuna, José Ramírez, and Bobby Witt Jr., and he already ranks fourth among them for home runs in-season. Henderson will probably go as the one-seed; his 27 home runs rank second in the AL and third in MLB, but Guerrero still won last year with only 26 homers at the end of the regular season, so it's anyone's game.

Globe Life Field is a relatively hitter-friendly park, and if Hernández can get a lefty to throw to him, then he'll definitely have this thing in the bag.