The playoffs are merely days away.
Why is the season ending midweek again?
Regardless, there are a number of teams careened towards the postseason that will depend on a number of first-year players to help them succeed.
For argument’s sake, I’m only including players from teams in current playoff positions as well as the Tampa Bay Rays. Apologies to the Cardinals, Giants and Angels, but there isn’t enough time to overcome your deficits.
Here are 10 rookies likely to have a big impact in October.
Freeman is a player who really turned his season around.
After starting out slowly, he has quietly positioned himself to win the NL Rookie of the Year award.
The Braves first baseman is hitting .289 with 19 home runs and 73 RBI this season. He will start for the Braves in the postseason and is a key player in their playoff run.
While it is not a definite that the Rays will make the postseason, if they do, Jennings will be a driving force in the playoffs.
Despite limited playing time this season, Jennings has already be deemed the center fielder of the future for the Rays, effectively driving out BJ Upton.
Jennings is hitting around .300 with nine home runs and 23 RBI in 53 games.
If the Rays make the playoffs, Jennings will be a big reason and a big factor in their October success.
Reddick has been a bit under the radar on the national scene.
While he hasn’t yet established himself as a starter, when he does play, he has been very successful.
Reddick is hitting .290 this season with seven home runs and 28 RBI in around 250 at-bats.
Montero is a total wild card here.
The Yankees are going to make the playoffs, and Montero will get a chance to be a hero.
He is an undisputed talent, but is obviously very, very raw.
In very limited time, Montero has three home runs and six RBI. If he gets a chance to play in October and succeeds, he could find himself starting every day in the playoffs.
Hellickson is a top rookie starting pitcher.
He will likely be a member of the Rays rotation for a long time. He is probably the most important player to the Rays in the playoffs.
It sounds off, but the No. 3 starter for any playoff team is extremely important.
Hellickson will pitch in the crucial Game 3 of the division series, and besides Shields and Price, Hellickson is the best player in the Rays pitching staff.
Rookie saves record aside, Craig Kimbrel is having an incredible season and is the anchor of the Braves bullpen.
The Braves failed last year because of Brooks Conrad, but also the bullpen.
Kimbrel, Venters and O’Flaherty make the most potent one-two-three of any bullpen in baseball.
Kimbrel’s 2.03 ERA isn’t too shabby, either.
It is not immediately obvious where Worley will factor into the Phillies postseason pitching staff.
He has been immaculate this season, but still won’t displace Lee, Halladay and Hamels. Oswalt and Worley are both in line to potentially start in the postseason.
Expect Worley to be used as a situational long reliever if one of the starters falters.
I honestly did not realize Nova had 15 wins until I looked through the list of rookie leaders.
He has great stuff, and with the Yankees offense behind him, is a very competent starter.
Nova will likely enter the playoffs as the Yankees’ second starter and him, and CC will need to be on their games in order to push the Yankees through the postseason.
The Braves starters have been decimated by injuries this season.
Brandon Beachy has taken advantage of this situation by pitching extremely well for a rookie in a pennant race.
Beachy figures to be in the Braves postseason rotation and will be key to their success.
As strange as it might sound, Paul Goldschmidt is the most important rookie to any potential playoff team.
If Goldschmidt gets hot in the playoffs, he could power the entire Diamondbacks team to success. Goldschmidt paired with Miguel Montero, Justin Upton and Chris Young form an extremely powerful middle of the lineup that rivals all other National League teams.
Will these rookies succeed? Only time will tell.