Most Important Player of Each Team Heading Into 2013 MLB Playoffs
Every Playoff Team's Most Important Player
It's an exciting time of the year for baseball fans and just sports fans in general. The MLB playoffs are one of the most celebrated postseason tournaments in sports -- ending in the ever-popular World Series. Last year, the World Series was a big uneventful as the Detroit Tigers were easily taken care of by the San Francisco Giants. This year, Detroit is poised to make their third World Series appearance since Jim Leyland became the manager in 2006.
It will be a different type of feel in the playoffs in 2013 because there's no New York Yankees and no San Francisco Giants -- both of which had been fixtures of the postseason in the past few years or more.
Some teams are still trying to make it in the playoffs in the American League. With three games remaining in the regular season, the Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers are all fighting for the final two wild card slots -- the Rangers are one game behind the Indians and two games behind the Rays.
Watching meaningful games being played in the final week of the season is good for the league and baseball fans love down-to-the-wire finishes -- I'm sure everyone does, for that matter.
The 2013 season was filled with teams who exceeded expectations, like the Boston Red Sox, and teams who failed to meet the win quota that was set upon them prior to the season because of the talent-loaded lineups they ran out every day, like the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.
The postseason is just about to start and there is no one more excited than each and every one of the managers whose team made the regular-season cut.
Check out my list of each team's most important player. Yes, even the Indians, Rays and Rangers.
Boston Red Sox: Clay Buchholz
It's hard to picture a guy more dominant than Buchholz on the mound when he's healthy. If he pitchers in the postseason even half as well as he pitched in the regular season, the Red Sox will be hard to beat.
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Hands down, best hitter on the planet and a sure-fire MVP. Cabrera was just home runs away from winning his second straight Triple Crown title and the Tigers would not be the same without their top hitter.
Oakland Athletics: Bartolo Colon
Colon was a pleasant surprise this season as a bit of an ageless wonder. He might even contend for the CY Young. However, the A's pitching this season has not been up to par and they will need that part of the team to step up in the postseason -- it all starts with him.
Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria
Longoria is the most talented player on this roster with the most potential as well. Her can be great when he wants to, but he just has to believe that. If he has confidence in the postseason, he will put up crazy numbers -- that is, if the Rays can beat the Rangers out for the last wildcard spot in a one-game playoff.
Cleveland Indians: Ubaldo Jimenez
Cleveland has also been pleasantly surprised by a pitcher whose career looked like it was on the decline. Jimenez has not had a solid season since his last full year in Colorado, but he has seen a resurgence this year, becoming the Indians' best starting pitcher.
Texas Rangers: Yu Darvish
Darvish is one of the best young pitchers in the league and if the Rangers don't use him in the one-game playoff with the Rays, they would be foolish. He has the stuff to be the best pitcher in baseball.
Atlanta Braves: Brian McCann
I know you're probably questioning the choice of McCann here. He's the leader on this team and it would be hard to see the Braves in this position if it weren't for his veteran leadership. Oh, and he has a pretty solid bat and defensive skills.
St. Louis Cardinals: Yadier Molina
Molina has to be the top-hitting catcher in baseball today. With a .300-plus average and power in his bat, he also has the experience to take the Cardinals back to the World Series. The younger players will depend on him this postseason.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw might be the best pitcher in baseball right now. He has the most electric stuff on any roster in the postseason and can shut anyone down with his sub-2.00 ERA.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
McCutchen is the clear-cut leader of this team and the guy who can do the most. He is a five-tool athlete -- a rare specimen of speed, a glove and a bat. He is scary-good.
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto
Joey Votto has been one of the most consistent players in baseball for the past few years and he is the most talented player on the Reds, in my opinion. If anyone is going to carry this team to a World Series, it's him.