To make the postseason, you need your star players to carry the bulk of the load. However, you also need the "other guys" to help contribute over the course of the season, especially down the stretch of a playoff push.
After looking at the current division leaders, here are six unexpected contributors that have helped their teams get to where they are.
6. RHP Tony Gonsolin, Los Angeles Dodgers
I know the top three starters in the Dodgers' rotation are set, but if they need a fourth starter, Tony Gonsolin is their man. In eight appearances (six starts), the rookie right-hander owns a 2.83 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 31 strikeouts over 35 innings. Gonsolin isn't exactly overpowering, but he pitches a clean game for the most part and will always keep the opponent at bay.
5. OF Matt Joyce, Atlanta Braves
When Nick Markakis went down with an injury, the Atlanta Braves outfield looked pretty spotty. However, Matt Joyce, who they brought aboard their roster the day before the season, has been a godsend and a force at the plate, including in September where he's hit .310 with two homers, which has helped the Braves extend their division lead over the Nationals and Phillies.
4. RHP Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals
It doesn't matter that Jack Flaherty is a former first-round pick and top prospect because nobody saw THIS kind of performance coming. His second half has been unreal, with the right-hander posting a 1.05 ERA over his last 12 starts. He might end up winning the Cy Young, which nobody would've believed he was in the conversation for halfway through the season. If he's not pitching for the Cards, we're not sure where they'd be right now considering they are
3. C Mitch Garver, Minnesota Twins
Did anyone outside of Minnesota know who Mitch Garver was? He's just a platoon catcher with Jason Castro, right? Well, you can take that label off of him, as the Twins would be nowhere without the slugger, who has 30 home runs this year and is slashing .360/.500/.920 with four long balls and eight RBI in September. Garver has been clutch when it's mattered, and if this Twins team expects to make some noise in October, he'll be leading the charge.
2. 1B Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros
How did Yordan Alvarez quickly become one of the Houston Astros' best players? Yeah, we knew he had power, but in fewer than 300 big league at-bats, Alvarez is hitting .315 with 25 home runs and 75 RBI. His power is unmatched, and if he did this over the course of a full season, he'd surely be in the MVP conversation, not just the favorite to win Rookie of the Year.
1. 3B Gio Urshela, New York Yankees
Gio Urshela was known as a defensive player, and whatever you could get offensively from him was considered a bonus. Well, the Yankees needed Urshela to step up with the absence of Miguel Andujar, and he's done that and more, as he's hitting .325 with 20 home runs and 72 RBI. Urshela has been one of New York's best players all season, which is crazy to think that's the case for the team with the best record in baseball.