AL's 5 most crucial players

The American League's two wild-card spots will hinge on this quintet

Updated: September 16, 2013, 8:14 PM ET
By Paul Swydan | ESPN Insider

Ubaldo Jimenez Jason Miller/Getty ImagesUbaldo Jimenez has been effective of late, but can he keep it up?

The race for the two wild-card berths in the American League has been chaotic, with six teams battling for them. As the Red Sox and A's have pulled away in their respective division races, we at least have clarity on which teams are vying for what spot.

But those six teams remain bunched tightly in the ESPN Power Rankings -- from the ninth-ranked Rays to the 15th-ranked Royals -- and it's still anyone's game. There will be plenty of heroes and goats, successes and failures in the final two weeks, but these five players in particular should play a larger role than others in shaping the fortunes of their team.