Parity has been the story of the 2014 season.
With a little more than two months remaining in the regular season, the Detroit Tigers are the only team with a division lead of more than three games, as they currently hold a seven-game advantage over the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central.
Elsewhere in the AL, the Orioles have a three-game lead over the Yankees and Blue Jays in the East, while the A’s sit three games ahead of the Angels in the West. In the National League, the Dodgers and Nationals lead the East and West by 1.5 games, respectively, and the Brewers are three games up on the Pirates and Cardinals in the Central.
Overall, 15 teams have at least a 21 percent chance of reaching the playoffs, according to Baseball Prospectus’ postseason probabilities, via MLB.com.
While there is still plenty of time before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline for teams to improve their on-field products, the lack of big-name trade targets means that most organizations will be forced to rely on players on their current roster.
With that said, here is one player at each position that has the potential to be an X-factor—someone who can make or break his team's chances—during the second half of the season.
All stats up to date through July 23. Records up to date through July 24.