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With the 2014 Major League Baseball season coming to an end, all 30 teams will soon direct their focus toward the free-agent market.

Even though this year’s class features top-tier pitchers such as Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields, as well as a few middle-of-the-order hitters such as Hanley Ramirez, Victor Martinez and Pablo Sandoval, organizations may be more interested in what the international market has to offer.

As of now, Yasmani Tomas is expected to be the most coveted player. Teams have flocked to see the Cuban outfielder in various showcase events over the last two months. However, he is only one of numerous international players who are capable of making an impact in the major leagues as early as the 2015 season.

Here’s an early look at a few of this year’s top international free agents along with their potential suitors, as well as one player who could soon hit the market.

USA Today

The Kansas City Royals’ streak of eight consecutive wins to begin the postseason came to an end Tuesday night, as the American League champions dropped Game 1 of the World Series to the San Francisco Giants 7-1.

The Giants stars stole Kansas City’s postseason thunder in front of a electric crowd at Kauffman Stadium, as ace Madison Bumgarner turned in seven strong innings while Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval supported his cause at the dish.

Unfortunately, the Royals’ dynamic lineup and pitching staff didn’t shine as brightly in Game 1 of the Fall Classic as they did in previous series; starter James Shields' struggles continued, as he was chased from arguably the most important start of his career after just three-plus innings, while the Royals offense combined for only four hits in 30 trips to the plate.

With Game 1 out of the way, it’s now time to break down and rank both teams’ top talents on display this October based on regular-season and postseason performances, as opposed to potential postseason impact or long-term potential in the major leagues.

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You can’t predict baseball, they say. Yet, when it comes to the postseason, that’s exactly what we attempt to do, using any relevant statistic, trend or storyline to contextualize individual performances and head-to-head matchups.

After all, with 162 regular-season games and three playoff series in the books, it’s not as though there’s a shortage of information.

With the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants set to square off in the World Series starting Tuesday night, it’s time to take an in-depth look at some of the statistics that define the two teams.

Here are 10 crucial stats that could project the 2014 World Series winner.

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The 2014 World Series is yet to begin, but it's already rich with storylines.

On Tuesday night, the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, the wild-card winners from each league, will take the field at Kauffman Stadium for Game 1 of the World Series.

The Kansas City Royals have already established a record with eight consecutive wins to begin the postseason, as they defeated the Oakland A's in the AL Wild Card Game, swept the Los Angeles Angels in three games in the ALDS and then knocked off the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS with a four-game sweep. Now, with four more wins, the team can capture its first World Series title since 1985.

Meanwhile, the Giants seek a third World Series title in the past five years under manager Bruce Bochy, as the team clinched a berth in the Fall Classic with Travis Ishikawa's dramatic, three-run walk-off home run against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLCS.

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Travis Ishikawa became a postseason hero on Thursday with his walk-off home run against the Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the first baseman-turned-left fielder’s three-run blast clinched the NL pennant for the San Francisco Giants, sending the team to its third World Series appearance in the last five years.

Ishikawa’s historic shot also put him elite company, as he became just the ninth player in postseason history to clinch a series with a home run.

So join us in a trip down memory lane as we look back at the greatest series-clinching home runs in playoff history, presented chronologically.

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The San Francisco Giants are World Series-bound for the third time in the last five years after knocking off the St. Louis Cardinals in five games to clinch the National League Championship Series.

The Giants will now meet the upstart Kansas City Royals in the Fall Classic in a battle of each league’s Wild Card winners. The Royals have yet to lose a game this October, completing respective sweeps of the Angels and Orioles in the American League Division Series and American League Championship Series, and continue to fire on all cylinders on both sides of the ball.

From Madison Bumgarner’s dominance on the mound in each series to Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas’ power surge to Buster Posey’s knack for driving in runs to Greg Holland shutting the door in the ninth innings, the Giants and Royals both have had players thrive in the postseason spotlight.

However, both teams also have guys that have underperformed this October—guys that, with a stronger and more consistent showing, could help their respective clubs win the World Series.

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The St. Louis Cardinals’ World Series aspirations were dashed Thursday with one swing of the bat, as Travis Ishikawa’s three-run, walk-off home run in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series propelled the San Francisco Giants to a 6-3 win and, more importantly, another trip to the Fall Classic.

Ishikawa’s Game 5 home run marked the second time in the series the Giants won in their final at-bat, and the National League Wild Card champions will now try to win their third World Series title in the last five years.

For the Cardinals, it was another disappointing exit from the playoffs—one which arguably could have been avoided or at least delayed if skipper Mike Matheny hadn’t repeatedly mismanaged the bullpen.

Matheny’s tenuous feel for his relievers was on full display throughout the NLCS, but his decision to put in Michael Wacha—last year’s NLCS MVP who hadn’t pitched since Sept. 26—to start the ninth inning of a tied, win-or-go-home playoff game was the icing on the cake.

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After early departures from the postseason in back-to-back years, the Los Angeles Dodgers were ready to shake things up.

In previous years, that might have involved signing a big-name free agent or executing a blockbuster deal, perhaps even a managerial change.

Those things could still happen, but if they do, it won't be Ned Colletti calling the shots.

The Dodgers shocked the baseball world Tuesday by hiring Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman to be their president of baseball operations, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Colletti, the Dodgers' general manager since 2005, will remain with the organization as a senior adviser to president Stan Kasten.

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While the postseason is heading toward the World Series and, thus, the conclusion of the 2014 Major League Baseball season, that only involves the four teams still playing. For the other 26, the offseason began more or less as soon as they were eliminated from the playoffs or contention.

As those clubs prep for a winter that's bound to be filled with transaction action—rumors, speculation, trades, signings and more—it's time to take stock of the teams that are in position to potentially make a major move involving a trade of prospects and/or young big leaguers for more established stars.

To that effect, this isn't a rundown of the best farm systems but rather a look at a handful of clubs that both have quality and quantity in the minor leagues as well as the need to make a trade to upgrade at the major league level.

In short, these are teams that have the young talent to spare and/or swap and either already are contenders or are positioned to join the playoff picture in 2015.

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The St. Louis Cardinals lost a heartbreaker Tuesday, as Randy Choate’s throwing error in the 10th inning gave the San Francisco Giants a 5-4 win in Game 3 of the NLCS.

However, Choate’s rough outing with the game on the line didn't define the Cardinals’ Game 3 loss.

Instead, the game came down to manager Mike Matheny’s decision not to use right-handers Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal, easily the team’s top bullpen weapons in virtually any scenario, or even Michael Wacha in the extra inning of a postseason game in a tied playoff series.

After Rosenthal’s blown save in Game 2 of the NLCS, Matheny, who was forced to remove the closer with two outs in the ninth inning, stated the hard-throwing right-hander remains the team’s closer.