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Ronald Acuna Jr. wins LVBP Home Run Derby

Acuna hit the most home runs in all three rounds to win the title

T-Mobile Home Run Derby Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Ronald Acuna Jr. and William Contreras each represented the Atlanta Braves in the Liga Venezuela de Beisbol Profesional home run derby and they put on a show. Contreras came into the competition as the two-time defending champion having won in 2020 and 2021, but it was Acuna who put the excitement in the crowd early.

In the first round Contreras took on Eduardo Escobar and escaped with an easy win. Contreras cranked out three home runs in the final 30 seconds to finish with seven home runs to Escobar’s three.

Ronald Acuna Jr. took on former Braves prospect Juan Yepez in the final of the head-to-head battles and it was no competition. Acuna electrified the crowd with a run of home runs right out of the gate and finished with a round-leading 14 home runs. Yepez couldn’t follow that up and failed to hit a home run.

The second round was a pool of five players, Contreras, Acuna, Diego Rincones, Balbino Fuenmayor, and Willson Contreras with the top two home run totals advancing to the final. William Contreras got off to a slow start in his round but put together a last second performance to scrape together a ten home run round. Still this was not enough to get him through to second round with Diego Rincones topping him at 12 home runs.

Ronald Acuna Jr. had the task of closing out the round, and it would take 11 home runs for him to get to the final against Rincones. Otherwise, a one minute tiebreaker would happen between the Contreras brothers and Balbino Fuenmayor who all hit ten home runs. He started off slow and had just three home runs at his break with 1:42 left in the round. Out of the break he started hitting and clubbed five home runs under the one minute mark to get to ten. He walked off the field thinking he had advanced, but at ten needed one more and the referees allowed him eleven seconds to hit the final home run. He stepped up and annihilated two pitches into the night to finish with 12.

The final came down to Acuna and Rincones, with Rincones leading off. Rincones came out lacking energy and didn’t hit his first home run until a full minute had passed. He got going a bit after his timeout, but ultimately did not have the energy to put up a strong round and finished with only five home runs. Acuna had a seemingly easy task, by his standards, needing only six home runs when he had hit 14 and 12 in his previous two rounds. After thirty seconds he was halfway there, and at the one minute mark he had five and called his timeout. After a quick selfie, it took 50 seconds. for Acuna to send the roaring crowd home with a walk off win.

He took his trophy, giving a Braves player the last three LVBP Festival de Jonrones titles.

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