2014 All-Star Game to supply plenty of the usual intrigue

By Luke Wiersma,
First-year attendees at Major League Baseball's festivities outweigh limited hometown support

On Tuesday, baseball’s best and brightest, young or old, will take Target Field for the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The biggest headline is arguably New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and the 14th All-Star Game that he will play in. That is six more than the next closest player on either roster, as Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers will make his ninth appearance.

Jeter had his most turbulent year in a Yankees uniform last year as various injuries limited him to only 17 games and a paltry .190 average, per stats from ESPN.com. While he has not regained the hitting form that he boasted during his peak, it is nonetheless a blessing for the sport to see Jeter healthy, hitting, and assuming his traditional role at the All-Star Game.

Hometown players are always some of the most popular at the All-Star Game, but this year’s edition will only feature two from the Minnesota Twins, and both are reserve players. Relief pitcher Glen Perkins will make his second All-Star appearance on the strength of a 2.97 ERA and 49 strikeouts, the type of numbers he’s been producing ever since the Twins moved him to the bullpen following the 2009 campaign.

Kurt Suzuki is the other Minnesota player who will be present for the festivities thanks to the .309 average that he is hoisting around ball parks this summer. That is by far the best that he has ever hit during his big-league career (his career high was .278 with the Oakland A’s), according to Baseball-Reference.com.

There are quite a few players this year who are receiving All-Star nods for the first time; 12 for the American League, and 15 for the National League, making up a good chunk of each team’s 38 players. The most notable are third basement Josh Donaldson of the A’s, outfielder Yasiel Puig of the L.A. Dodgers, and catcher Jonathan Lucroy of the Milwaukee Brewers, all of whom are starters for their respective squads. Lucroy is starting for the injured St. Louis Cardinal Yadier Molina.

Donaldson of the American League has smashed 20 homers so far this year after hitting over .300 last year. Puig, of the National League, has followed up his out-of-nowhere rookie season with a solid .309 average and plenty of eye-catching play in the first half of this year. Lucroy, also of the National League, boasts a .315 going into the break, up from his career average of .286.

All-Star Games are the only time of the year when you can see all the talent that a sport has to offer all in one place and there’ll be no shortage of such talent in this edition either.

image courtesy of INFevents.com



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