When it comes to sensational plays, massive home runs and memorable moments, there is no better stage than the MLB All-Star Game.
The 2014 rosters for both sides have been announced, with a few replacements and the final vote for each side yet to be finalized. With all of the players already on the two star-studded rosters, picking an MVP will be a difficult task.
Names like Mike Trout and Yasiel Puig obviously come to mind, but there's the potential of a veteran stealing the prize away from the young guard. Both Andrew McCutchen and Miguel Cabrera are deserving of the honor and could very well shine during the All-Star Game.
As for one living legend who might just make a statement, Derek Jeter certainly has a chance to steal the show. After former teammate Mariano Rivera took the honor last year, could The Captain be the second straight New York Yankees player to earn the award?
Here's a look at some of the top contenders for the award heading into the Midsummer Classic.
Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
He can hit massive home runs, steal bases and change the game with his glove. What part of Trout's game doesn't scream All-Star MVP?
Hitting .308 with 20 home runs, a 1.005 OPS and 63 RBI, Trout leads the Angels in all four categories. In a lineup that boasts both Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, that's a pretty staggering accomplishment.
As for his clutch ability with the game on the line, Trout might just have the final say for the American League if he remains in the lineup. ESPN Stats & Info points out just how good Trout has been this season in late innings:
Then there's what he can do with the leather. Mostly known for his speed on the basepaths, Trout has also shown great closing ability during his career roaming the outfield.
Here's a look at a recent web gem, via MLB.com:
For a player who can affect all aspects of the game, expect Trout's name to be one of just a few to be considered for the MVP by the end of the contest. But he's certainly not the only outfielder who can do it all on the diamond.
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
How good is McCutchen? Oh, you know, he was only named the National League MVP last season ahead of both Paul Goldschmidt and Yadier Molina.
What has he done for an encore? Oh, just put up a better batting average (.324), OBP (.424) and is on pace for nearly as many home runs with 13 to this point.
Making his fourth appearance in the Midsummer Classic, McCutchen spoke about the making his first start, per Tom Singer of MLB.com:
I've been on All-Star teams before, but to make it as a starter is a dream come true. It shows that the fans see something in me, and that's something that means a lot to any player.
... It takes us winning to get that recognition, and we've done that the last couple of years. It's good to see. Being in the All-Star Game is enough in itself. Being No. 1 [in voting for outfielders] is a plus, really cool.
What comes next for McCutchen might be sensational. Given his first chance to trot out with the starting lineup, the 2013 NL MVP has a chance to make an impact right from the start.
Much like Trout, he can do it all with 13 stolen bases and an amazing defensive ability that won him a Gold Glove in 2012. Put that all together, and Cutch might just be adding another MVP trophy to his case on June 15.
Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees
When it comes to greats in the game, the final All-Star appearance is typically a special one.
For both Rivera and Cal Ripken, Jr., it also turned out to be an MVP performance. For Jeter, his 14th appearance in the All-Star Game might lead to similar results.
Ironically enough, he shares something in common with Ripken heading into his final appearance, per Numbers Never Lie:
While Ripken hit a home run in his final game as an All-Star, don't expect Jeter to do the same. The Captain has hit just two homers this season but is still hitting .273 with a .323 on-base percentage.
If he can simply contribute for the American League squad and help it pick up a win for the second consecutive year, Jeter might just be the one taking the hardware. A fitting end for his career at the All-Star Game, much like another great shortstop before him.
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