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2014 MLB All-Star Game: Most Intriguing Players to Watch in Midsummer Classic

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 30: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers tosses his bat after popping up in the sixth inning the Cleveland Indians at Dodger Stadium on June 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Sean ODonnellContributor IIIJuly 11, 2014

The 2014 MLB All-Star Game is jam-packed with a bevy of talent, as the cream of the crop from both the National League and American League will face off to determine which conference will gain home-field advantage for this year's World Series.

While that's an intriguing storyline in its own right, the main attraction of the Midsummer Classic is the once-a-year chance of watching the brightest stars from around the league showcase their talents on the same team.

Of all those immensely talented players, there are a few to watch during this year's All-Star Game—for varied reasons.

Here's a look at which players to keep a keen eye on while the game progresses.

 

Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees gets a first inning base hit against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on June 27, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Over his storied 20-year career with the Yankees, Jeter has become an absolute baseball icon. This season, his famed No. 2 jersey continued to be a fan favorite, leading all jersey sales, according to MLB.com

The 2014 All-Star Game will be the 40-year-old shortstop's farewell tour and marks his 14th appearance in a Midsummer Classic.

Jeter has looked solid for New York this season, batting .270 with 87 hits, nine doubles, one triple and two home runs for 24 RBI. Always a defensive stalwart, Jeter holds a fielding percentage of .976 and has turned 35 double plays.

Dave Brown of Yahoo Sports summed up the shortstop's 14th All-Star Game appearance perfectly:

We'll see exactly how many innings Jeter will go on July 15 before he's called off the field and rides off into the sunset.

 

Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 06:  Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Seattle Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field on July 6, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Mariners 1-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

While the veterans are departing from the league, new talented players are beginning to emerge. There may be none more exciting this year than Abreu.

The 27-year-old rookie has been sensational this season, currently tied for the league lead in home runs with 28. Putting his total into perspective is a very telling tweet from MLB Stat of the Day:

He is now just six short of Ryan Braun's rookie record of 34.

Home runs isn't Abreu's only impressive hitting category. He's been a well-rounded powerhouse at the plate this season:

It will be interesting to see how he fares against the league's best pitching during the Midsummer Classic.

 

Yasiel Puig, RF, Los Angeles Dodgers

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws his bat as he watches his RBI double  to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on September 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, Cali
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The strong arm, the hitting power, the bat flip—Puig is simply one of the most polarizing players in the league.

Impressive at the plate, Puig is batting .307 this season with 101 hits, 24 doubles, five triples, 12 home runs and 50 RBI. A fantastic defender, he's fielding .993 with six assists, two double plays and only one error.

In fact, some of Puig's best moments weren't recorded in his season statistics. Here's a great look at his laser arm—and a humorous gesture after his assist was overturned:

We also get to see his talents at the plate in this year's Home Run Derby:

Will we get a bat flip or another finger wag during the Midsummer Classic? You just never know with Puig.

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