The MLB season is officially over. As disappointing as that is, there's only about 113 days until pitchers and catchers report! Before that happens, let's take a look at what happened this year.
The first thing anyone will think about when they think 2014 will be the Royals. I've never seen a more improbable run in my life. The most amazing part was how comebacks seemed inevitable. Only Madison Bumgarner could stop it. And even he needed Joe Panik to bail him out. If Panik doesn't make that play the Royals win the game. They would've had runners on first and third with Butler and Gordon coming up. You can't get all the breaks.
Speaking of Bumgarner, you've heard all the stats by now, a career 0.25 World Series ERA, pitching five innings on two days rest, 17 strikeouts and one walk, and all of those tell a lot. But what they can't point out is how in charge he was. After he came into game seven, you could see the panic levels rising with Royals fans. Not only did he dominate, but you couldn't picture him not dominating.
We knew we would be talking about Clayton Kershaw going into the offseason, but not for this reason. After his two seventh inning meltdowns in the NLDS, Bumgarner vs. Kershaw is a legitimate argument. Do you take the guy who will almost guarantee you a win once every five days during the regular season and run out of gas in the playoffs, or someone who will give you a good chance to win almost every game in the regular season and raises his game when it counts? I would still take Kershaw right now because of the possibility that he turns it around, but it's closer than I thought it would be.
For the Twins, this was just a lost year. For the future, I feel optimistic about Hughes, Santana, Vargas, Gibson and Arcia. That's the full list. Mauer was better than the naked eye indicates, but he's still not the same version of himself from a few years ago, we lost a year of development from our two best prospects, and that's what concerns me the most. My biggest fear with Buxton is that he'll turn into what Bryce Harper is right now: A talented player who can't stay on the field. Although part of me stays optimistic because, for the most part, none of his injuries are related. His concussion came on a freak accident and he broke his finger diving for a ball. The wrist is what concerns me. One bad body part can do a lot. I'll be holding my breath for Buxton all of next year.