If the Wild Card system in Major League Baseball had any remaining detractors entering this season’s Division Series round of postseason play—and it did—the pair of excellent series (San Francisco-Atlanta and Texas-Tampa Bay) may have wooed them all.

Even aside from Roy Halladay’s historic October debut, there were great performances by batters and pitchers alike all around the playoff circuit. Cliff Lee, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte solidified their sterling playoff reputations, while Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum and Curtis Granderson began building their own October legacies.

The Rangers may be the best story entering the 2010 Championship Series round, having won their first-ever postseason series. But there are plenty of individual superstars who will vie for the bright spotlight of postseason glory. Through the first round, these five men have made the best cases.

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