alonso.jpg
Getty Images

New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso will defend his title in this year's Home Run Derby. On Wednesday, MLB announced Alonso will participate in this year's Home Run Derby at Coors Field next month.

Alonso and Angels two-way wunderkind Shohei Ohtani are the only two players confirmed for the event thus far. Like Ohtani, Alonso shared the news on Instagram in an announcement video that places great emphasis on his 'Polar Bear' nickname.

There was no Home Run Derby or All-Star Game during the shortened 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Alonso won the 2019 Home Run Derby at Progressive Field in Cleveland, narrowly edging out Blue Jays wunderkind Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Alonso went on to hit a rookie record 53 home runs in 2019, though he fell one vote short of being named the NL Rookie of the Year unanimously. The 26-year-old owns a .250/.333/.451 batting line with 11 home runs so far this season.

Among players with at least 10 home runs, Alonso has a top 20 average home run distance at 412 feet. He also ranks among the MLB leaders in average and maximum exit velocity, so he is well-suited for a Home Run Derby.

Guerrero and Yankees slugger Aaron Judge have said they will pass on this year's Home Run Derby. Astros masher Yordan Alvarez is interested in participating, however. The field will include eight players total.

In 2019, MLB essentially doubled the Home Run Derby prize money. Alonso received $1 million as the winner and donated a portion to various charities.

The 2021 Home Run Derby will take place Monday, July 12.