Robert Perez Bests Heston Kjerstad For AFL Home Run Derby Crown

Image credit: Robert Perez Jr. (Bill Mitchell)

MESA, Ariz. — Rock and roll and home runs were on full display in the 2022 Arizona Fall League home run derby. The festivities were kicked off by a rocking rendition of the national anthem, and later 130 balls left the park as the fans were treated to an exciting three rounds over the course of the event. 

Eight competitors faced off in the inaugural Arizona Fall League home run derby on Saturday, with the Mariners’ Robert Perez Jr. taking home the crown. Perez hit 32 home runs total between the three rounds of the competition, besting the Orioles’ Heston Kjerstad in the finals. 

Perez Jr. owned the first round with 13 total home runs during the two-minute and 30-second circuit. While Perez Jr. hit the most home runs of the round, the most impressive shots came off the bat of the Phillies’ Jhailyn Ortiz, who cleared the lights in left-center field on one home run and hit another clear out of the stadium. 

Kjerstad had a two-round total of 22 home runs to set up a showdown with Perez Jr. in the final. Having hit the most homers in the first two rounds, Kjerstad was awarded the opportunity to choose whether he hit first or second in the final. Kjerstad chose to hit second, setting the stage for the final round.  

Perez Jr. hit 11 in the final, besting Kjerstad’s 10 to capture the crown and take home the PlayStation 5 awarded to the winner. It’s been a banner week for Perez Jr., who was voted by the fans as the final addition to the Fall Stars rosters. His quick righthanded stroke was perfect for the competition as he peppered right field with several towering shots. 

Kjerstad was the most consistent performer of the night, connecting for 11 home runs in each of the first two rounds, and he nearly met that number in the final round. While Perez Jr. was the best of the righthanded contestants, Kjerstad held the crown among lefthanders, hitting the right field bullpen on several home runs. 

Below are the totals for the other competitors split between the first two rounds. 

Matt Mervis, Cubs: 19

Andy Pages, Dodgers: 15 

Deyvison De Los Santos, D-Backs: 14

Jhailyn Ortiz, Phillies: 11

Stephen Scott, Red Sox: 10

Edouard Julien, Twins: 3


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