All succeeding teams have their X-factor that leads them into October. Here are the following X-factors for contending teams trying to make it to the playoffs in the American League.

American LeagueYankees

New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury: This one might be the most obvious of X-factors because when he is playing well, the Yankees are playing well. In his last seven games he is hitting .406/.424/.594 and the Yankees have gone 6-1 (entering Thursday). Having his speed at the top of the order is integral to the New York offense because a 1-2 punch of him and Gardner followed by A-Rod, Tex, and McCann, gives them one of the best offenses in the AL.Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays, Ben Revere: After trading Reyes, the Blue Jays needed speed and they have it in Revere. Other than Revere, only Kevin Pillar has double-digit stolen bases as the rest of the Blue Jays are relatively slow. Having Revere in the ninth spot and hitting just below .300 will be huge when the Blue Jays run into tough pitching in October and can’t homer their way to wins. If Revere plays up to his potential, which he has not since he has been there, he will be able to create runs for the Blue Jays in ways they have not thus far.fc2d4-screen2bshot2b2015-03-302bat2b2-08-182bpm

Baltimore Orioles, Chris Tillman: Last year when the Orioles won 96 games, Tillman was one of their best pitchers, but this year he has seen his ERA rise more than a run. His struggles at the beginning of the season were why Baltimore was hovering around .500. In his last seven starts, he has been a different pitcher with an ERA of 2.47 and a WHIP of 1.03. Since the All-Star Break the Orioles are 18-13, and now only trail the second wild card spot by 0.5 games (entering Thursday). If Chris Tillman can pitch the way he has been over this past stretch, I’d say the Orioles are a good bet to make the playoffs.abdcd-screen2bshot2b2015-03-302bat2b2-08-502bpm

Kansas City Royals, Health: No player is an X-factor for them because they are a lock to make the playoffs with a 14.5 game lead. All they need to do is stay healthy and they will be just fine.

Houston Astros, George Springer: Houston desperately needs George Springer back in the lineup asAstros they have gone 19-21 in his absence. The energy he provides to the team and the spark plug he is for the offense is missed. Before he was hurt he had the best OBP, top three on the Astros in stolen bases, slugging and home runs. When he comes back, the Astros can finally have the lineup they planned on having when the season began.Angels

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Jered Weaver: Up until this year ,you could count on Weaver to give you 200 innings and an ERA around 3.00. He was the ace of the Angels, but now he has become somewhat of a liability in the rotation with an ERA of 4.34. The problem with Weaver is that his fastball is topping out in the low to mid-80s and very few right handed pitchers can survive throwing that slow. If Weaver can figure out how to pitch effectively, the Angels’ rotation will get a much needed boost and propel themselves ahead of the Astros and avoid the wild card game.f8b9d-screen2bshot2b2015-04-052bat2b3-40-432bpm

Texas Rangers, Derek Holland: The Rangers have survived with limited pitching and are surprisingly are only four games out of first place. They got the upgrade they needed in Derek Holland as he started for just the second time this year on Wednesday, getting the win after going 6.1 innings allowing two runs. Unfortunately for Texas, Holland is somewhat of an unknown for the rest of the season as he has only started seven games over the past two years, but if he can provide an average of six innings a start and an ERA around 3.50, he will be a major upgrade. The Rangers can score plenty of runs, and with a healthy Holland alongside Cole Hamels, they can very well end up as the AL West Champs.