Baseball doesn’t get much better than this. With just over a week left in the MLB regular season, we have 12 teams within five games of a playoff berth—and a three-way tie in the National League wild-card race.

Tell us again how baseball is boring, haters.

For most of those teams, their destinies are in their own hands. Or rather, in the hands of their biggest X-factors, players who can change the course of a game—and the way the playoff race shakes out—with a single swing or pitch.

The New York Yankees’ Gary Sanchez is one of those X-factors. Not only has he helped propel the Yankees back into contention, but he’s also making a strong case that, like Willie McCovey in 1959, he’s deserving of the Rookie of the Year Award despite not arriving on the scene until well after the All-Star break had passed.

Is Sanchez the only rookie to make the cut? Is he the only catcher? Are there more well-established X-factors to focus on? Let’s take a look.

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