You would think the top players on postseason rosters will rise up and carry their respective teams in October. That doesn't always happen, and there's always a player that doesn't get a lot of attention who comes up big in a key situation. So, who are some under-the-radar players on postseason teams who will have a huge impact?
Here are six players who will be unexpected playoff X-factors come October.
6. RHP Tony Gonsolin, Los Angeles Dodgers
The trio at the top of the Dodgers rotation is as good as any, but they'll need more in the pitching department if they want to make a deep run. Don't look past right-hander Tony Gonsolin. He's been solid in a small sample size, including very good outings against the Cardinals, Braves and Yankees. Whether he gets a start or comes out of the bullpen in the postseason, Gonsolin has proven the lights aren't too big and he can get big-time hitters out.
5. OF Matt Joyce, Atlanta Braves
The Braves looked at Matt Joyce as a bench piece when they signed him at the tail end (literally) of Spring Training. With injuries to their outfield, Joyce has been getting everyday at-bats and he's thrived. Yes, Nick Markakis is coming back, but with the way Joyce is hitting as a starter, it'd be shocking if Austin Riley or Ender Inciarte usurped his role. Of course, if that happens, Joyce can have an impact late in games as a pinch hitter. Manager Brian Snitker has a weapon that doesn't get much attention, but that might change once October rolls around.
4. RHP Giovanny Gallegos, St. Louis Cardinals
In the playoffs, a team's bullpen is seemingly as important as any other position on the roster, if not more. You need to be able to close games out late, and the Cardinals have several options who can do that. Carlos Martinez has been able to do the job in the ninth, and Andrew Miller has the postseason pedigree to bridge the gap. But the game can be won or lost before that, and right-hander Giovanny Gallegos has been lights out for St. Louis, posting a 1.59 ERA in 20 appearances since the All-Star break.
3. RHP Josh James, Houston Astros
This Houston Astros team is just as good as the squad that won it all a few years back. However, what is concerning and could keep them from hoisting the trophy is this bullpen, especially with Ryan Pressly out. That's why need someone to step up, and Josh James could be that guy to close things out. James is a young pitcher but he throws triple-digits and has given up just one run over his last 7.2 innings, including a save.
2. LHP Taylor Rogers, Minnesota Twins
Minnesota's offense is second to none, but the pitching staff is pretty average, especially the rotation which came crashing back down to earth in the second half. Relievers can mask a lot of issues, and closer Taylor Rogers has been doing just that with 23 saves and a 2.52 ERA. I'm not telling you he's the next Mariano Rivera in the postseason, but he has a chance to make a name for himself come October and help get this Twins team over the top in the AL.
1. OF Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees
Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres get all the love on New York's vaunted offense, but if you notice, the heroes in October are usually part of that second and third tier on the roster. That's why the X-factor on this Yankee team is outfielder Mike Tauchman, who has been under-the-radar and owns a .954 OPS since the All-Star break. New York will need a big hit at some point in October, and don't be shocked if it's Mike Tauchman.