Part of the fun of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is watching managers get to play fantasy baseball with their starting lineups.
This is the only time where you'll see the best the sport has to offer playing together on the same teams. These are the kinds of batting orders you could only hope to create in video games, and that's only when you turn off the trade logic.
Some may criticize the league for adding an imaginary importance to the game and watering down the event over the years, but there's no doubt that both the American League and National League teams boast all of today's top stars.
MLB Public Relations tweeted out the lineup for the American League:
You of course have to start off with the leadoff hitter. This will be Derek Jeter's last All-Star Game, so why not throw him out first in the order? As much as MLB wants this game to matter, few fans take it too seriously. This is a good way to give Jeter a nice All-Star send-off.
American League manager John Farrell already has a plan in place for how he'll handle the New York Yankees shortstop, per ESPN Radio's Jon Sciambi:
Farrell in our pre game meeting said two ABs for Jeter and out likely top 4. He will send him out on defense then have Ramirez take him out.— Jon Sciambi (@BoogSciambi) July 15, 2014
After Jeter, it's your typical big-hitting All-Star lineup.
Having Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista back to back is bound to scare any pitcher, even one as good as Adam Wainwright. Cabrera's power numbers are down a bit in 2014, but he remains one of the most intimidating hitters in the majors.
Ahead of the All-Star Game, the reigning two-time MVP admitted that a groin tear from last year and subsequent offseason surgery have affected his performance, per USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz:
"There are times when I feel good, but there are always muscles that are tightening, muscles that are not functioning properly,'' Cabrera said in Spanish. "It's part of the process. The same thing is happening to Justin Verlander, but the difference is he pitches every five days, so you don't see it as frequently.
"But as he and I talked about, we're never going to offer any excuses for our performance. We always want to be out on the field and compete, and I think that's the most important thing we can do, compete and try to get past this tough time. And the main thing is we're in first place.''
Once that news came out, Cabrera attempted to diffuse the situation, per Josh Katzenstein of The Detroit News:
Miguel Cabrera says he didn't say anything about his groin issue lingering. "I'm good." #Tigers— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) July 15, 2014
With the pressure completely off, Tuesday night should be a welcome reprieve for the 31-year-old.
The Nos. 6, 7 and 8 hitters offer a lot of pop in the order. Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones and Josh Donaldson have combined to hit 64 home runs so far in 2014.
Donaldson might be particularly motivated having missed out on the All-Star Game last year. You get the feeling that most players are pretty apathetic about the game, but the Oakland A's star might be carrying last year's slight with him.
MLB Public Relations also tweeted out the NL lineup ahead of the game:
Two words: holy crap.
This is what an All-Star lineup is supposed to look like. In what other situation are you gonna see players the quality of Andrew McCutchen and Yasiel Puig at the top of the order? Giancarlo Stanton is all the way down in the fifth spot—that's how loaded the NL is this year.
Stanton put on a show in the Home Run Derby—one of the few stars who actually performed up to expectations in the competition. With any luck, the Miami Marlins star will have saved up something from the Derby that he'll unleash in the All-Star Game.
If there's a weak part of this lineup, it's Chase Utley hitting seventh, but he boasts a slash line of .293/.349/.445 with eight home runs and 46 runs batted in.
Aramis Ramirez is a soft spot, but he's hammered 11 homers and driven in 43 runs. His teammates, Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez, are listed at eighth and ninth, respectively, and they've combined for 23 homers and 92 RBI.
Gomez himself is a former Twin, having been moved to Milwaukee in what was one of the more lopsided trades of the last few years:
Carlos Gomez for JJ Hardy. Man, that trade looks so good in retrospect. Would love to know what Doug Melvin saw.— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) July 15, 2014
The veteran outfielder doesn't think the Minnesota fans will harbor any sort of ill will, per Bleacher Report's Scott Miller:
The Brewers' Carlos Gomez on tonight's expected Target Field fan reaction: "I think I'll be cheered."— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) July 15, 2014
If anything, Twins fans should be more angry at former general manager Bill Smith, who traded away one year of J.J. Hardy for a future two-time All-Star in Gomez.