We have officially reached the offseason, so it's time to look back at the 2014 season, one player at a time. This journey will take us over seven weeks, and will begin with Dee Gordon, one of the true bright spots of the year.
What went right
Quite a lot went right for Gordon, who entered spring training in February a man without a position but with an open mind. The former shortstop played winter ball in two different counties last offseason and at two different positions, second base and center field, in hopes of gaining at least a utility spot with the Dodgers in 2014.
Gordon did much more than that, first beating out $28 million free agent import Alex Guerrero for the starting second base job.
In his first full major league season, and at a new position, all Gordon did was lead the major leagues in stolen bases (64 steals, at a 77-percent clip), triples (12, matching the highest mark by a Dodger in 44 years), infield hits (62, 22 more than any other player) and bunt hits (20).
Gordon's 64 steals tied for the fifth-most in a single season by a Dodger since 1900, including 21 steals in May, matching Maury Wills in 1965 for the most steals by a Dodger in May.
Gordon hit .289/.326/.378 with a 101 OPS+, a .312 wOBA and 101 wRC+, and made his first All-Star team as a reserve.
He even improved against southpaws in 2014, hitting .295/.340/.379 in 141 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers after hitting .216/.262/.284 in 204 PA against them from 2011-2013.
What went wrong
Gordon had only four walks against 47 strikeouts in 258 plate appearances after the All-Star break, fueling a paltry .300 on-base percentage despite a .284 batting average. Gordon's strikeout rate increased from 15.3 percent before the break to 18.2 percent after. His walk rate decreased from 6.9 percent before the break to just 1.6 percent after.
He only had two walks in his final 52 games.
Manager Don Mattingly chalked up the second-half decline to fatigue for Gordon, who with 148 games and 650 plate appearances surpassed his professional career highs by 15 games and 36 PA, and 92 more plate appearances than in any of the previous three seasons.
"I think Dee got worn down a little bit as the season wore on mentally. I think there was advancement in those areas for him," Mattingly said. "I think this season is going to be great for Dee. I think there is more to come. There are better days ahead, on-base wise, hitting-wise, and I think his swing still has more in it.
"This was the first time he has really played a full season at the major league level. I think when he gets away from this for a little bit and gets some time to start thinking about it, it's going to give him a confidence. ... I think Dee's going to come back even a better player than this year."
Age: 26 as of June 30
Game of the year
On May 3 in Miami, Gordon set a career high with five hits and stole three bases in an 11-inning win over the Marlins. Gordon was 5-for-6 with two runs scored, with hits in each of his first four times to the plate, including a pair of RBI singles. Gordon is the only Dodgers player in the modern era (since 1900) with at least five hits and three steals in one game.
With two years, 154 days of major league service time, Gordon will be eligible for arbitration this winter as a "Super Two," among the top 22 percent in service time among major league players with at least two years but not yet three years of accrued time.