Sometimes, it's a runaway. Sometimes, it's a dogfight to the very end. But when a player receives postseason accolades and awards, it truly shows the value and strength he brought his ballclub.
In 2010, we saw Joey Votto, Albert Pujols and (to some extent) Carlos Gonzalez duke it out for National League MVP honors. The Reds first baseman came out on top with the trophy, but all three were just about equally deserving of it.
But sometimes, players have a way of coming out of nowhere to win an award. Last season, Jim Tracy won the National League Manager of the Year award as skipper of the Colorado Rockies, despite the team finishing in third place in the NL West. But the Rockies put together one of their annual late-season runs and spun off a 10-game win streak in September, which helped them finish with an above-.500 record.
So who will be our thieves this year? Next is a list of players (and managers) whose late-season performances could in fact put them over the top in the postseason awards race.