The 2013 playoff races were defined by strong rookie performances.
There was Michael Wacha, who went from first-round draft pick in 2012 to No. 2 starter for the St. Louis Cardinals down the stretch and well into the postseason. Gerrit Cole and Sonny Gray had similar impacts on their respective teams, as both right-handers reached the major leagues in the middle of the season and ultimately shined in their first tastes of playoff baseball.
Meanwhile, Billy Hamilton literally stole the show on the other side of the ball. The infamous speedster was called up in September and blew past all reasonable expectations by batting .368 with nine runs and 13 stolen bases over 13 games.
This season, there should be just as many, if not more, big-name prospects who influence their team’s quest for a playoff berth.